Book & CD. Most linguists believe that writing was unveiled in China during the latter half of the 2nd millennium BC Despite the many thousands of written characters however, there are approximately 1,700 possible syllables in Mandarin, compared to over 8,000 in English. As a result, there are many homophones, distinguished in written Chinese by the use of different characters to represent each one. Not all the characters are pronounced using the same tone, so to Chinese ears they sound different. To Westerner ears, however, they all sound the same. It is even possible to write a test in Chinese using only one syllable, pronounced with different tones. The well known story by Chinese linguist Zhao Yuanren -- Story of Shi Eating the Lions -- uses nothing but the sound ''shi". This book offers a new, intuitive method for more effectively mastering spoken Mandarin Chinese. It assigns a colour to each of the four tones in Mandarin, creating a psychological, synaesthetic resonance between written characters, colour and sound. Sample sentences and grammatical patterns are printed in colour to reinforce the association between tone and colour. With practice, each character generates a colour association, and the tone for the word can therefore be recalled immediately and effortlessly -- a true asset to any beginner learning Mandarin. Designed as an engaging introduction to 100 primary characters, the book also contains an audio CD of the lessons and tones, as well as downloadable files and artwork for mp3 players or computers. Compact, well designed and innovative, it is perfect for a student interested in mastering spoken Chinese while simultaneously studying the written characters.Dummitt, Nathan is the author of 'Chinese Through Tone and Color ', published 2007 under ISBN 9780781812047 and ISBN 0781812046.