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Chinese Beginners (L31) - Updated 2018/19



You are a complete beginner, knowing little or nothing of Mandarin Chinese.

Main Objectives:

By the end of this course, you will be able to use fundamental grammar to conduct conversations in a range of predictable simple everyday situations. You will be able to use the pinyin system, understand the components of characters, recognize some characters. Also You will learn some customs and culture of the Chinese speaking world.

Please read our Can-do Statements (link on the right of this page) to see the competences which you will be working towards and can achieve by the end of the year.


1 x 2 hour class per week plus some independent learning.

Course Text

Discover China book 1, Anqi Ding, MACMILLAN, ISBN: 9780230405950

All text books can be purchased from the University Bookshop.

Course Description

This course is based on the textbook 'Discover China', book 1, unit 1 to 8. Pinyin will be introduced at the beginning of the course but taught gradually during term one. Teaching will be focused on communication in real daily contexts with introducing some fundamental grammar. Students are recommended to learn Chinese characters as understanding characters will be very helpful if you want to attain a high level of competence in the language. Specific culture background will be given to help students understand the language. Students will be supported by abundant resources including workbook, Mp3 downloads, extra speaking activities and other online materials.

Homework will be given after each session to enable you to reinforce and practice the language learnt in class.


This course will cover the following:


  • introduction to the Chinese language: Pinyin system and character writing;
  • greeting people and responding to greetings;
  • asking and giving personal information: name, nationality and age;
  • talking about occupations or studying;
  • talking about family members;
  • describing people's appearances and favourites
  • asking for and giving information about contact number and address;
  • talking about dates and days;
  • asking for and telling the time, making an appointment;
  • asking for items, price and bargaining when shopping;


  • word order of Chinese sentences;
  • simple sentence patterns;
  • measure words;
  • numbers from 0 to 10,000;
  • expression of dates, days of the week and time;
  • expressing future tense using the auxiliary verb 要