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Beginners Course in Mandarin for Cantonese Speakers

Part of the range of Chinese language teaching courses and activities at SOAS Language Centre in London

Duration: One year of three twelve-week terms.


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Mode of Attendance: Part Time

The course aims to develop participants’ competence in understanding and speaking Mandarin (putonghua). This course is devised specifically for students who are Cantonese speakers and familiar with Chinese characters (able to read newspaper articles).

Term 1 of the course concentrates on pronunciation and basic sentence structure using Hanyu Pinyin to enable students to learn standard Mandarin. Basic dialogue and vocabulary will be introduced. The focus will shift to vocabulary and discussion in Mandarin in the following two terms. The core textbooks are A New Course in Mandarin Chinese - Elementary and Intermediate with books and CDs by San Lian Publications. The textbooks are specially compiled to help Cantonese speakers to learn to communicate in Mandarin. 

Class size is normally limited to fifteen to allow intensive practice.

Assessments for Course Placement

Not a total beginner? See our page on course assessments.




Our course materials page shows you what you need to buy for this course. Course materials are not included in the course fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop bookshop@soas.ac.uk


Classes will be held at the Bloomsbury or Kings Cross Campus of SOAS in central London on one evening a week or Saturday daytime. Participants receive 24 hours of language tuition over each twelve-week period (with additional weeks where public holidays displace a class session).

See our online store to book a place on this course.

Language Centre How To Apply

Timetables Autumn 2014

You can preview our timetables by language area below.

You can enrol:

Not a complete beginner?

If you are not a complete beginner, you will need to complete an assessment for course placement, allowing us to decide which course is right for you.

To apply for an assessment please complete our Needs Analysis Form (pdf; 187kb) and send to the relevant email inbox where a Course Officer will contact you for scheduling.

Course Fees and Discounted Rates

An overview of our Short Course Fees and Discounted Rates.

If you are eligible for a discount, you will not be able to complete your transaction on the Online Store. You will need to bring a paper Application Form (pdf; 462kb) , including your Staff/Student card for us to make a copy of, after which we can process your application at the discounted rate.

Returning students

If you are a returning student, you will have received a letter informing you of the procedures for rejoining prior to the start of the registration period. You can pay using any method indicated above. Returning students, if they are continuing onto the course indicated as the progression course, do not need to be assessed.