Department of
Asian and Middle Eastern
Languages and Studies

The Language Program

The language program is designed to meet the needs and interests of students with different backgrounds and levels of proficiency in Mandarin.  All of the courses provide instruction intended to help students become proficient in both the spoken and written language over time.  To achieve this goal, the program helps students develop the linguistic foundations, strategies, insights, and knowledge they will need to carry on their learning of the language beyond the classroom and outside of academic settings.  The program provides a well-structured beginning to the development of the abilities and knowledge needed to use Mandarin effectively in social and professional settings.  However, success in this long-term project depends on the student’s commitment to continue working on the language in academic settings and in the Chinese speech community for many years to come.

Language Courses offered

For true beginners, there is the course Chinese 1001.  It presupposes no previous background or knowledge of Mandarin.  Chinese 1001 introduces students to Mandarin’s sound system, the basics of its writing system, and basic grammar and vocabulary.  Each of the five subsequent sequentially-ordered courses takes the course ordered before it as a prerequisite and builds on the skills and knowledge mastered in that course.  All of these courses focus on students developing a linguistically-accurate communicatively-effective control over the material studied and insights into how to use the language in culturally and socially appropriate ways. 
For students with academic or home background in Mandarin for whom Chinese 1001 would be too elementary a course, the program offers language evaluations for placement into a higher level just before the beginning of each semester and during pre-registration.  Any student interested in placement into a higher level should contact the program for an evaluation.

Students who successfully completed Chinese Elementary II can continue with Chinese Intermediate 2001 and 2002. Transfer students or heritage students can also attend Chinese Intermediate, who have the equivalent abilities in Chinese as determined through placement by the instructor.

The program tries to provide independent studies whenever possible to students interested in continuing their study of Mandarin beyond Chinese 3002, the sixth-semester course.   Students interested in taking an independent study should contact the program either in late August before the beginning of the fall semester or during pre-registration during either the fall or spring semesters.

Certificate of Specialization in Chinese

Students can earn a Certificate of Specialization in Chinese by completing the six-course sequence Chinese 1001 through Chinese 3002 with a C- or better in each of the required courses.  Anyone interested in participating in the certificate program should go to the College of Liberal Arts’ Academic Advising Center to register for the program.  Any student interested in pursuing a certificate who has placed above one or more of the required courses should discuss possible course substitutions with the Academic Advising Center and the Chinese Program’s advisor for the certificate. Visit the Certificate page in the undergraduate bulletin.

Courses in the General Education Program

The course World Society in Literature and Film as offered in the Chinese Program provides a thematically based survey of contemporary Chinese literature and film as a way to understand aspects of Chinese society and culture.  This course can be used to fulfill the requirement in the General Education area World Society.  The course Language in Society as offered by the Chinese Program looks at language in some of the many roles it plays in society.  This course can be used to fulfill the requirement in the General Education area Human Behavior.  Of course, the language of instruction is English and all course materials are in English for both of these courses. Visit the Courses in the General Education Program page.

Literature and Film

The program continues working on the development of courses on Chinese literature and film.  At present, the program offers three courses in this area, a survey of pre-modern literature, a survey of modern literature, and a survey of contemporary urban literature and film.  All of the readings are in translation; all of the films have English subtitles; the language of instruction is English.  These courses are intended for all students with an interest in Chinese literature and film whether or not they have a background in Mandarin.  These courses also contribute to the Asian Studies Program.