SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Chinese 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Full Year

The module provides students with a basic knowledge of Chinese and practice of using Chinese in a variety of everyday situations. It allows students to interact with Chinese speakers in Chinese.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module a student should be able to demonstrate . . . 

  • knowledge and understanding of basic Chinese grammar
  • knowledge and understanding of essential Chinese vocabulary
  • knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Chinese structures and expressions in a given context
  • the ability to understand short passages in written Chinese on everyday topics
  • the ability to produce short passages in written Chinese on everyday topics
  • the ability to understand spoken Chinese and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics
  • 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)


A total of 20 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week consisting of 2 hour lecture and 2 hour tutorial.  

Scope and syllabus

The module provides an introduction to Chinese language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Chinese. It covers phonetics and phonology (with special attention paid to tones), characters (including aspects of origin, structures, radicals, etc.). Communicative practice is established through learning language around dialogues dealing with a range of everyday situations, including buying and selling, and giving directions.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written paper taken in May/June (40%); an oral exam consisting of reading aloud, prepared speech, Qs and As, interpreting, etc. (10%); translation of passages and sentences from Chinese into English (500 characters), a creative writing in Chinese characters (no less than 250 characters) both to be submitted at the end of week 1, term 3 (20%); one 10 minute oral examination in term 3 (10%); regular course work (10%); two tests – one at the end of term 1 (5%), one at the end of term 2 (5%).

Suggested reading

The module will be based on:

  • Colloquial Chinese by T’ung & Pollard, 1984, Routledge   (Lessons 1- 9)
  • additional materials which will be made available throughout the course.

Additional Chinese References:

  • Yip, Po-ching and Don Rimmington (1998) Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook, Routledge
  • Ross, Claudia and Jing-Heng Sheng Ma (2006) Modern Mandarin Chinese grammar: a practical guide, Routledge


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules