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Introductory Chinese 


Main text: Colloquial Chinese (the character text in full-form) by P. C. T'ung and D. E. Pollard

Optional: Colloquial Chinese (the pinyin text with grammar notes in English) by P. C. T'ung and D. E. Pollard (The books can be purchased at Labyrinth Books at 112th St. )

Other: Additional character writing sheets and Aural/Oral lab materials will be handed out in the first session of class. There will be a fee for these materials.

Course Objectives

This course serves the same goals as Elementary Chinese N class, but goes at half the pace of N class. This course only starts in Spring semester every year. Students in the this course are expected to do the following by the end of the academic year:

  • Be able to understand simple questions and answers
  • Be able to comprehend short dialogues and passages read or spoken by Chinese natives at normal speed with familiar vocabulary.
  • Be able to ask and answer questions in Chinese. 
  • Be able to talk about simple everyday activities with accuracy and fluency. 
  • Be able to handle simple survival situations (initiating conversations, shopping, asking for directions, etc.).
  • Be able to comprehend short written dialogues and reading passages with familiar vocabulary.
  • Be able to write Chinese phonetic symbols (Pinyin) correctly.
  • Know the principles of writing traditional Chinese characters (stroke order, radicals, etc.). 
  • Be able to write essays of approximately 200-300 characters about simple everyday activities.

Course Requirements

  1. Attendance: Attendance in regular class and drill session will be counted in the calculation of your final grade.
  2. Preparation: You are expected to work a minimum of one and half hours every day. Routine preparation includes listening to the tapes, writing characters, studying the vocabulary, patterns and texts, reading grammar notes. 
  3. Homework Assignments: Written: Character exercises, grammar exercises, and short essays Oral: 1) Recite (from memory) the selected paragraph(s) of each lesson. 2) Audio tape your oral assignments as instructed.
  4. Oral Sessions: All students in N classes are required to attend the weekly oral sessions.
Note: Unless due to emergencies, no make-up quizzes, tests, exams or late work will be permitted.



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Chinese Language Program,
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
407 Kent Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 854-5027