skip to primary navigation skip to content

The Language Centre  The Language Centre

The Language Centre

 

CULP: General Language Courses - Chinese

Chinese

Around one fifth of the world’s population, or far in excess of one billion people, speak some form of Chinese as their native language. There are many varieties of spoken Chinese found across different regions and ethnic groups of China, many of which are not mutually intelligible. By far the most widely spoken is “Mandarin” Chinese.

Mandarin Chinese consists of a group of dialects spoken across most of northern and south-western China. For most of Chinese history, the capital has been within the Mandarin speaking area. The Western term “Mandarin” was first used by the Portuguese to refer to the officials of the Imperial Court and the language they spoke.

In 1932, the Chinese government introduced the Beijing dialect of Mandarin as the official standardized form of Chinese – this is known as putonghua (common speech) or guoyu (national language). Putonghua is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, one of the four official languages of Singapore, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. When you learn “Chinese” or hear people refer to “Chinese”, it typically means putonghua (standardized Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect).

Written Chinese is one of the oldest continual systems still in use and is the only surviving pictographic system. The earliest forms of Chinese writing found by archaeologists date back to over 3,000 years ago. Over time, Chinese characters have evolved significantly. In an attempt to improve literacy, the Chinese government began simplifying characters in the 1950’s, and the resulting “Simplified Chinese” became the official written script of Mainland China.

China is home to a huge depth of culture developed over thousands of years without much influence from the outside world. Some key aspects of Chinese culture include Confucianism, Taoism, tea culture, martial arts, poetry, calligraphy, the imperial legacy, traditional dress and minority traditions, ancestor worship, the animal zodiac, and much more. There is also a great array of historical relics including, to name a few, the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, and the Forbidden City. Many key inventions also came from ancient China, such as the compass, paper, gunpowder and the printing system (the “Four Great Inventions”).

At the Language Centre, you can use our extensive collection of resources (some are available online) as well as enroll in one of our courses. The courses range from Basic 1 (absolute beginners) to Elementary 2 (equivalent to HSK Level 4). The classes at all levels are functional-notional, particularly focusing on spoken language, but also introducing Chinese characters as well as cultural elements. All Chinese courses are supported by multimedia online materials.


Back to top

Qualifications framework level: CEFR A1 / HSK 1

No Prerequisites

Educational Aims

At the Basic 1 Level the main aims are:

    • To develop a basic understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features;
    • To establish the learner as a fairly confident language user in a range of every-day predictable situations;
    • To introduce students to the complex historical and cultural background of China within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.
Reading Understand a set of basic notices, instructions or information in Pin-yin as well as some 150 Chinese characters.
Writing Complete basic forms, and write notes including times, dates and places.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

Introducing oneself - counting 1-10 - saying where one is from - telling which language(s) one speaks - saying what job one does - introducing oneself and their family - talking about the family - talking about age - ordering drinks - ordering snacks - specifying what one needs - booking a table - ordering food - talking about food - asking for the bill - enquiring about and book a room - specifying the room facilities you desire etc.

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

Chinese Basic 1

Sample Past Paper:

  Listening Comprehension | Reading Comprehension


Back to top

Qualifications framework level: CEFR A2 / HSK 2

Prerequisites

CULP Basic 1 / CEFR A1 / HSK 1

Educational Aims

At the Basic 2 level the main aims are:

    • To further develop the understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features of the Chinese language;
    • To establish the learner as a fairly confident language user in a wider range of every-day predictable situations;
    • To enhance students understanding of the complex historical and cultural background of China within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express simple opinions or requirements in a familiar context.
Reading Understand straightforward information within a known area, such as on products and signs and simple textbooks or reports on familiar matters in Chinese characters (400).
Writing Complete forms and write short simple letters or postcards related to personal information.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

Hiring a boat/bicycle/car - Talking about sports - Talking about pastime - Talking about regular activities - Buying a ticket - Enquiring at the tourist office - Shopping for food - Shopping for clothes - Shopping for presents - Asking your way -Taking a taxi - Enquiring about coaches - Buying train tickets - At the doctor's - At the chemist's - The Spring Festival - The Dragon Boat Festival.

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

Chinese Basic 2


Back to top

Qualifications framework level: CEFR B1

Prerequisites

CULP Chinese Basic 2 (CEFR A2)

Educational Aims

At the Elementary 1 Level the main aims are:

    • To further develop and refine the understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features of the Chinese language;
    • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a wider range of every-day predictable situations as well as in situations related to study and work.
    • To further introduce students to the complex historical and cultural background of China within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
Reading Understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area. Be familiar with up to 800 characters.
Writing Write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

How to talk to a colleague on first encounter - To be able to make polite conversation on weather, football etc. - To be able to make introductions amongst colleagues - To be able to understand some common office talks - To be able to find out about a new working environment - To be able to discuss about group activities and accept an invitation - To be able to comment on food and talk about cuisine; To be able to tell about one's dietary requirements - To be able to understand directions - To be able to follow a discussion when choosing a gift - To be able to make basic enquiries about banking - To be able to open a bank account - To be able to enquire about renting a flat - To be able to express a personal opinion etc.

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

Chinese Elementary 1


Back to top

Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2 /HSK4

Prerequisites

CULP Mandarin Chinese Elementary 1 / CEFR B1 / HSK 3

Educational Aims

At the Elementary 2 Level the main aims are:

    • To develop a good understanding of the language structure and vocabulary;
    • To develop the ability to engage in conversation in Mandarin Chinese, where the learner is able to express his or her opinion in a variety of topics;
    • To reinforce and further develop in the learner an awareness of the complex historical and cultural background of China within the context of language teaching;
    • To develop an awareness of the cultural diversity among Chinese speaking regions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.
Reading Understand written Chinese when texts are intended for native speakers, where visual information is not necessarily available and where the text relies on language structure and lexical refinement to convey specific messages. Be familiar with up to 1200 characters.
Writing Write both formally and informally to a single recipient in a variety of topics, using the appropriate register and formulae to achieve communication.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

    • To be able to contact a real estate agent, enquire about different types of rental properties, describe one’s own requirements, understand the rental conditions and modes of payment;
    • Shopping: discuss some popular products and their taste and price, return faulty goods;
    • Plan a holiday in China, describe some of the tourist attractions including Great Wall in Beijing, Terra-Cotta warriors in Xi’An, Hangzhou and Hainan Island;
    • Understanding a situation when an accident happened. How to describe types of pain and other symptoms, to report an illness and seek assistance, including a prescription, from a doctor; to understand how to improve one’s health by following Chinese food balance concepts and a developed awareness of alternative medicines;
    • To be able to exchange information by telephone and e-mail, describe what is happening among friends and colleagues; to arrange for a reunion with friends, help to make an arrangement when a friend is visiting China for the first time.

    Specification produced: 2013. Last reviewed: July 2013

Syllabus:

Chinese Elementary 2


Back to top

Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2 /HSK5

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the CULP Elementary 2 course in the Language Centre, or have acquired an equivalent to B1 / HSK4.

Educational Aims

At the Intermediate Level the main aims are:

    • To develop a fairly good understanding of the Chinese language structure and vocabulary;
    • To develop the ability to engage in conversation in Mandarin Chinese, where the learner is able to express his/her opinion in a variety of topics;
    • To develop an awareness of the cultural diversity among Chinese speaking countries and regions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand spoken Mandarin Chinese in both predictable and unpredictable linguistic situations and be able to express themselves in a situations where a fair amount of detail is necessary.
Reading Understand written text relies on language structure and lexical refinement to convey specific messages.
Writing Write both formally and informally to ask for more information about a position/an application/a person’s experiences. Using the appropriate register and formulae to achieve communication.

Topics

The Course introduces students to functions and notions such as:

    • Talk about interests and hobbies
    • Accept an invitation
    • Talk about one's physical features
    • Making an appointment
    • Being a guest
    • Talking about one's disposition
    • Talking about sports
    • Making friend
    • Talk about TV programmes
    • Passing on a message

    Specification produced: 2014. Last reviewed: September 2014

Syllabus:

Chinese Intermediate


Back to top

Standard - Michaelmas-Lent 2017/18

  Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri.
Basic 1 19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR2]
13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR4]

15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR3]
15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR4]
   
Basic 2   17:30 - 19:30
[Chem. Dept., Todd Hamied
Room]
13:00 - 15:00
[LC TR4]
   

Elem 1

        19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR2]

Elem 2

    19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR2]
 

Inter 1

19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR4]
       

Back to top


Back to top