Mandarin: Level 1 (Standard)

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Lijing Shi TW3 601h


No previous knowledge required. All students welcome but they should: Demonstrate commitment to regular attendance, completion of homework, and all pieces of continuous assessment. Dedicate at least two hours per week for coursework in addition to classes. This course puts special emphasis on speaking and listening. You will be introduced to Chinese characters but mainly for simple recognition.

Course content

Course Aim:

  • To develop the ability to use Chinese effectively for purposes of practical communication at survival level.
  • To master the pronunciation of Mandarin.
  • To have basic knowledge of Chinese language: Pinyin spelling, tones, characters, words and syntax.
  • To be able to communicate in a range of daily life situations and travelling to China.To establish the language skills and attitudes required to promote and facilitate further study of Chinese.
  • To increase cultural awareness of China.
  • To prepare students for the equivalent of A1 CEFR.

The course is focused on the following communicative functions:

  • Greetings.
  • Introducing yourself and others.
  • Asking for and giving personal information.Introducing your family.
  • Talking about date, daily routine, future plans.Talking about birthday and holidays.
  • Asking and giving time.Arranging a date.
  • Making suggestions.Understanding Chinese currency.
  • Shopping and bargaining.
  • Ordering food and drinks.
  • Eating out and reading a menu.
  • Using public transports in China.
  • Asking and giving directions.
  • Checking into a hotel.
  • Making simple requests.
  • Describing past events.
  • Talking about likes and dislikes.
  • Making a phone call.
  • Describing and solving problems.

This course will introduce the basics of Mandarin in the following grammatical areas:

  • Form simple questions.
  • Indicating possession.
  • Use of negation.
  • Use of location indicator.
  • Measure words.
  • Indicate future.
  • Indicate past.
  • Verb constructions.
  • Imperative.
  • Comparison.
  • Expressing frequency.

The course will also introduce 600 words and 150 Chinese characters.


16 hours of classes in the MT. 22 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

This is a 40 hour-course. Please refer to the LSE timetable for course teaching arrangements.

Indicative reading

Key textbook:

Mastering Chinese, 2010, by Catherine H Xiang, Palgrave Macmillan.

Recommended Readings:

Concise English-Chinese, Chinese-English Dict., Commercial Press/Oxford University Press 1986.

Beginner’s Chinese Script by E. Scurfield and Song Lianyi (Teach Yourself books), 1998.

Basic Chinese - A Grammar and Workbook by Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington. Routledge. 1998.


Continuous assessment (50%) in the MT, LT and ST.
Oral examination (30%) and in class assessment (20%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Language Studies

Total students 2015/16: 26

Average class size 2015/16: 12

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