SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Advanced Modern Chinese Language

Module Code:
Unit value:
1 Unit, 45 CATS

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, the students should be able to communicate information, ideas and arguments cogently and coherently both orally and in writing; gather, process and evaluate critically information from a variety of paper, audio-visual and electronic sources; be an effective and self-aware independent learner.

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: Advanced reading and writing (including translation both ways); advanced oral and aural training; the role of language in language-based scholarship and research.

Objectives: The course is designed to develop and consolidate the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills of the student. It aims to prepare the student to communicate fluently and appropriately, orally and in writing, in Chinese; demonstrate an effective understanding of the structures, registers, etc. of the target language; demonstrate a critical understanding of the cultures and societies of Chinese and Chinese speaking communities.

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 (50%) taken in May/June. A 3,000 word essay due the first day of term 3 (30%). A 20 minute oral examination (10%). Homework assignments in reading/writing (5%). Continuous in-class oral/aural assessment (5%).

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