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Study information

Beginners Chinese

Module titleBeginners Chinese
Module codeMLM1052
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Yue Zhuang ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Module description

Beginners Chinese is designed for people with little or no previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, and provides an introduction to the basics of this language and culture within the context of typical, everyday situations.

You will acquire a solid foundation of the basic grammatical structures of the language, which will allow you to listen, speak, read, and write at an elementary level on a variety of topics. Particular emphasis is placed on listening and speaking. You’ll also learn about the culture and society in which Mandarin Chinese is spoken to develop awareness of the language’s background and context

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module is intended for students who have little or no previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and offers an introduction to Mandarin Chinese language and culture. This module is broadly equivalent to A1 / A2 Basic User level of the Common European Framework and aims to:

  • Provide students with a solid foundation of the basic grammatical structures of the target language thus enabling them to communicate effectively across the four key language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) at an elementary level on a variety of general topics
  • Enable participants to give and understand information and to achieve a confident elementary level of communicative competence in everyday situations
  • Provide an introduction to the customs, culture and society of the regions/countries in which the languages are spoken and to develop student awareness of the general social and cultural background of the language

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound grasp of the basic grammatical structures of the target language
  • 2. Read and comprehend simple written and aural texts and extract specific information related to every-day situations
  • 3. Communicate effectively on a variety of general topics requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters, both orally and in writing

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Understand the principles of learning a foreign language intensively and organise your learning with guidance from the tutor
  • 5. Use available learning aids in a variety of media, such as a reference grammar and bilingual dictionary, to consolidate your learning

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Communicate at a basic level in the target language
  • 7. Work productively with others as part of a team, within a set structure
  • 8. Make progress through developing skills of self-study and application and develop an awareness of and sensitivity to a foreign culture

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics: 

  • Chinese Pinyin and Romanisation
  • Pronunciation  with different tones
  • Word and word order
  • Yes / No questions with ma
  • Sentences with and/or without shi (be)
  • Numbers and measure words
  • Present, past and future tenses
  • Sentences with question words e.g. shenme (what), shei (who), na (where), a yige(which)
  • Structure of sentences of tai …
  • Le, comparison with bi
  • Prepositions, modifying nouns by using de
  • Affirmative and negative statement with modal verbs
  • Greetings
  • Name, nationality and age
  • Asking for permission
  • Directions
  • Making comments and talking about one’s major
  • Family and study
  • Celebrating birthday and dates/time
  • Shopping and likes/dislikes
  • Food and drinks
  • Talking about one’s health
  • Renting a house and making a phone call / invitation
  • Holiday greetings

Teaching methods are based on interactive language development tasks, such as pair / group work and role-playing, and include the study of short texts, oral development work and listening comprehension exercises. Learning activities are supported by various media, including audio, video / DVD, and, where appropriate, computer software. The module is taught as far as possible in the target language.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching88Language seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching22Oral classes
Scheduled learning and teaching22Writing classes
Guided independent study 168Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Up to six formative tasks covering some or all of the following areas: reading, writing, listening and speakingVariable1-8Written and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio50As described on the ELE page1-8Written feedback
Oral test107-8 minutes1, 3-6, 8Written feedback
Written examination (Grammar &Vocabulary; Reading &Writing)402 hours1-6, 8Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PortfolioAs described on the ELE page1-8Referral/deferral period
Oral testOral test1, 3-6, 8Referral/deferral period
Written examination (Grammar & Vocabulary; Reading and Writing)Written examination (Grammar & Vocabulary; Reading and Writing)1-6, 8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

You will only be required to retake any failed assessments. Marks for any passed assessments will be carried forward. If you have failed any assessments but managed to pass the module overall, you will not be allowed to retake the failed assessments.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Main course books:

New Practical Chinese Reader: Textbook by Xun Liu (1 Jan 2010)

New Practical Chinese Reader: v. 1: Workbook (Workbook 2nd Edition With MP3) by Xun Liu (1 Jan 2010)

New Practical Chinese Reader, Vol. 2 (2nd Ed.): Textbook (with MP3 CD) (English and Chinese Edition) by Liu Xun (2011)

New Practical Chinese Reader, Vol. 2 (2nd Ed): Workbook (with MP3 CD) (English and Chinese Edition)  by Liu Xun (2011)


Supplemental materials:

  • Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners, by Kan Qian (2009)

Recommended materials:

  • Dictionary: Collins Oxford English/Chinese and Chinese/.English dictionary

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Chinese, Beginners

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date