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Chinese for Beginners 1

Chinese for Beginners 1

(初级汉语)

Code: CHI8LE210
Scope: 5 ECTS 
Timing: 1st semester
Language: English/Chinese 
Curriculum: Mubba 2016  
Course level: Basic Studies
Course type: Elective*

*but required of students who have chosen compulsory Chinese

Starting level and linkage with other courses

Starting level: 0 (No prerequisites)

Contents

  • the four main tones and the 5th toneless one
  • the consonants and vowels of the Pinyin transliteration system
  • vocabulary and sentence types from everyday conversation
  • basic grammar rules on verbs, adjectives, sentence structure, etc.
  • about 100 basic Chinese characters

Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and one of the official languages of the UN. It is used officially in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is also used in Malaysia and the business world of Southeast Asia to a large extent. The Chinese language has had a great impact on East Asian languages and cultures. Thousands of Chinese characters have been borrowed by the Japanese language, and about 65% of Korean words have their origin in Chinese.

Contrary to what many people believe, Chinese is not that difficult to learn. For example, the grammar is quite simple, the verbs are not conjugated and most words are short – only one or two syllables. Learning the Chinese characters takes time, but the graphic writing system is extremely interesting. The art of writing characters, i.e. calligraphy, is itself one of the most esteemed art forms in East Asia.

According to the latest language research made by the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2007, only 581 characters make up 80% of common Chinese texts. And if you know 934 characters, for whatever you might wish to read in Chinese, you can already recognize 90% of the characters.

Learning methods

Interactive classroom activities 
Individual and pair work  
Internet learning at least 30%  
Mid-term and final exams

Learning outcomes and assessment

Target level: A1

Students

  • know how to distinguish and pronounce the five tones in Mandarin Chinese
  • get familiar with the Pinyin transliteration system
  • know how to introduce themselves by stating their name, nationality, language skills, etc.
  • can carry on some short superficial small talk
  • get familiar with basic Chinese grammar
  • learn the basics of reading and writing the most common Chinese characters
Alternative ways to complete the course:
Not attending the contact hours but doing the assignments and taking the final exam.

Assessment components and their respective weights:
Mid-term 50% and final exam 50%

Passed courses are assessed on a scale of 1 to 5. The assessment criteria are presented for grades 1 - 3 - 5.

Grade 5 (Excellent):
The student: 
is able to understand simple oral and written messages and transmit them successfully to the recipient. Speaking and writing skills are excellent as far as constructions and/or pronunciation is concerned. 
knows how to apply the learned skills in practice on simple constructions in new situations.

Grade 3 (Good):
The student: 
is often able to understand simple oral and written messages and transmit them to the recipient. Speaking and writing skills are good as far as constructions and/or pronunciation is concerned. 
has readiness to apply the learned skills in practice on simple constructions in new situations.

Grade 1 (Satisfactory):
The student: 
has limited capability to understand simple oral and written messages and transmit them to the recipient. Speaking and writing skills are passable as far as constructions and/or pronunciation is concerned. 
is able to recognize simple constructions and frequently used expressions in different situations.

Recognising and validating prior learning (RPL)

A student can demonstrate his or her equivalent language skills relating to the course objectives and content. This must be agreed upon with the teacher no later than two weeks before the course begins. Each student may attempt this only once in the period prior to the giving of the course. Evaluation is on a scale of 1-5.

Course teacher

Hai Guo

Learning materials

Hai Guo & YLE 2009: BBC Real Chinese/Kiinaa matkailijoille, Finnlectura (lesson 1-4)  
Gu Feng 2009: Mandarin Teaching Toolbox, Volume 1, Confucius Institute at BCIT 
Hai Guo 2010: Multimedia English materials based on “Matka Kiinan kieleen ja kulttuuriin”