SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Intermediate Modern Chinese Language 1

Module Code:
Unit value:
1 Unit- 45 CATS

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this course, a student should be able to read modern documents such as newspapers and academic publications, have mastered issues of grammar and varied discourses, and be able to use the target language with improved accuracy.
A student should also have acquired knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Chinese in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students).


Total of 22 weeks of teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week. In addition Masters students will receive an additional 6 hours of lectures and an additional 6 hours seminars/tutorials in total over the course.

Scope and syllabus

Syllabus: Readings in Modern Chinese; advanced grammar and application; the role of language in language-based scholarship and research.

Objectives: This course aims at improving students’ command of modern Chinese by focusing on skills that are important for the students’ academic work through both reading and practical use. In reading, the students will develop skills of processing and analysing information, develop their vocabulary in a more systematic manner through various forms of written materials, learn about the contexts of those materials and how they might be employed in academic research.

The practical language use part of the course addresses advanced issues of grammar in conjunction with various tasks where the students are required to use the target language through, for example, compositions in both practical and formal manner.

A series of special PG lectures with associated seminars structured around the six themes Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation (provided for PG students studying different languages) introduces students to general questions of the role of language in language-based scholarship and research and provides them with the critical and methodological skills to relate their language acquisition to the thematic aspects of the studies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination (55%) taken May/June. One 3,000 word essay due the first day of term 3 (30%). Coursework for Readings in Modern Chinese (5%). Coursework for Advanced Grammar and Application (10%).

Suggested reading

  • Austin, Peter, ed., 2008, 1000 Languages: The world-wide history of living and lost tongues, London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Baker, Mona, 1992, In Other Words: A coursebook on translation, London: Routledge.
  • Duranti, Alessandro, 1997, Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge: CUP.
  • Geertz, Clifford, 1973/2000, The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays, New York: Basic Books.
  • Pinker, Steven, 1994, The Language Instinct: the new science of language and mind, London: Allan Lane.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules