Mandarin Language and Society Level 1 (Beginner)

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Hua Xiang tower 3, 601B


Available as an outside option to all undergraduate and General Course students. Students can take this course in any year of their studies following approval from the teacher responsible and subject to their own programme regulations.


No previous knowledge of Mandarin is required; students with limited prior knowledge may be considered for the course subject to an interview with the course co-ordinator.

Course content

Beginners to intermediate study of the Mandarin language within the framework of social sciences and culture. In a dynamic and communicative way the course develops all four language skills (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing) through individual and group work, topical discussions, authentic and multi-media materials. The focus is on accuracy as well as communication that advance students’ language competence, transferable skills and cultural awareness. In this level, the students are required to read and write up to 750 Chinese characters.


60 hours of classes in the MT. 60 hours of classes in the LT. 6 hours of classes in the ST.

Six hours per week, which will feature: (a) interactive topical work; (b) oral practise; (c) grammar and vocabulary work; (d) tutorials; and (e) guided study using IT and web-based materials.

Structured activities in week 11 of both MT and LT. 

Formative coursework

The students will be required to complete weekly exercises. This includes grammar activities, writing Chinese characters and online communicative materials.

Indicative reading

CH Xiang, 2010, Mastering Chinese, London. Palgrave Macmillan.

X Liu (ed.), 2006, New Practical Chinese Reader, Vol. 1, text book and workbook,  Beijing. Beijing Language and Cultural University Press.

Y Po-Ching & D Rimmington, 2002, Beginners Chinese – A Grammar and Workbook, Routledge.

Oxford Chinese Dictionary, 2010, Oxford Dictionaries.


Exam (60%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Oral examination (20%) in the ST.
Continuous assessment (20%) in the MT and LT.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 42.1
2:1 33.3
2:2 19.3
Third 3.5
Fail 1.8

Key facts

Department: Language Studies

Total students 2015/16: 17

Average class size 2015/16: 9

Capped 2015/16: Yes (36)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication