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Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Elementary Spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese)

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Full Year
This course introduces spoken elementary Hokkien, also known as Minnanyu or Taiwanese.


At least one year of intensive Mandarin Chinese. The course is intended primarily for students with a good grasp of Mandarin grammar and pronunciation, and a reading ability of a minimum of 300 characters.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, the student should be able to hold a simple conversation in Hokkien and function adequately in standard social situations requiring the use of Hokkien.


Total of 20 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week.

Method of assessment

One essay (2,500 words) 20% to be submitted on day 5, week 1, term 3; a mid-year oral (10 mins) held in week 2, term 2, 30%; a final oral (20 mins) held in week 3, term 3, 50%.

Suggested reading

  • Klöter, Henning: Written Taiwanese. Leiden: Universiteit Leiden, 2003. 
  • Li, Charles N., Sandra A. Thompson: Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1989. 
  • Lin, Shuang-fu: A Grammar of Disjunctive Questions in Taiwanese. Taipei: Student Book Co., 1975 
  • Ramsey, S. Robert: The Languages of China. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987. 
  • Norman, Jerry: Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. 
  • Weingartner, Frederic F.: Tones in Taiwanese. Taipei: Ching Hua Press, 1970.