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Chinese – Beginners




Admission requirements

  • Class of 2017: this course is not available to first-year students, as it has been scheduled opposite the Global Challenges courses.

  • Classes of 2013-2016: None.

Course description

This course aims at the development of communicative skills, with a special focus on listening and speaking skills. The introduction of cultural knowledge about China and its people is an integral part of the course.

This is an elementary course, which will be followed by a course in the second semester. The two courses together form an integrated basic language course. At the end of the learning period, the learner will be able to understand basic Chinese sentence structures and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate practical and intercultural relevance (e.g. exchange of personal and family information, addressing others, shopping, local geography, etc.).

Learning objectives

  • Learners will acquire communicative skills enabling them to converse about simple and routine matters. They will be able to describe aspects of their personal backgrounds, immediate environments and other matters in areas of immediate need in simple terms. (roughly corresponding to CEFR A1 level, A2 after the second course)

  • Learners will be able to read and understand short, simple texts on familiar matters containing the highest frequency vocabulary (roughly corresponding to CEFR A1 level, A2 after the second course).

  • Learners will be familiar with cultural aspects of everyday life in China.

  • Learners will be able to write 400 Chinese simplified characters (800 after the second course). They will be able to write very simple phrases and sentences about everyday aspects of their environment in linked sentences, take notes of personal information, and compose a simple advertisement (roughly corresponding to CEFR A1 level).

  • Learners will acquire 450 (900-950 after the second course) vocabulary items. After the second course learners will master basic Chinese grammar constructions and expressions, which is sufficient for basic daily conversation.

Mode of instruction

The teaching method will be based on communicative-oriented approach, with strong focus on pronunciation and speaking fluency.


Class oral assignment 30% (twice per semester)
Class dictation test 10%
Final listening exam/oral exam 30%
Final written exam 30%

Two assignments will be arranged per semester. The first oral assignment is an individual assignment; the second one is a group assignment.

Class dictation tests will be held once a week (check “weekly overview” for details).

The final oral exam and written exam will take place during the “reading week” at the end of the semester (15-19 December).

Compulsory literature

  • Ding Anqi, Lily Jing, Xin Chen. 2010. Discover China Student’s book one. UK: Macmillan Education.

  • Betty Hung. 2010. Discover China Workbook book one. UK: Macmillan Education.


  • Claudia Ross, Jing-heng Sheng Ma. 2006. Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar. London: Routledge. (ISBN: 0-415-70010-8)

Contact information

Ying-ting Wang mailto: (071-5272520)