Frequently asked questions about Mandarin Chinese courses at UCT
Is UCT going to offer courses in Mandarin Chinese?
Yes, UCT is going to offer Mandarin Chinese courses, starting from the beginner level.
Through which faculty is UCT going to offer Mandarin Chinese?
As other foreign languages, Mandarin Chinese is going to be offer by the School of Languages and Literatures in the Faculty of Humanities.
At the present, the course is offered through the Confucius Institute, which is set up at UCT by agreements between UCT and Hanban in China, and between UCT and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.
When will the courses start?
Initial Mandarin A will start from the first semester, 2011 academic year, and Initial Mandarin B will start from the second semester, 2011 academic year.
Who can sign up for the Mandarin Chinese course?
Students at any year of university studies whose native language is not Chinese may sign up for the Mandarin Chinese A in the first semester. First year students are strongly encouraged to consider taking Mandarin Chinese as a major and complete 3 years study of Chinese. Undergraduate students from countries other than China are welcome to sign up for the Mandarin courses. Students of Chinese origin who were born and grew up in South Africa may also sign up for the courses.
Will the Mandarin Chinese course bear credits? What will they lead to?
Yes. The Mandarin Chinese courses all bear credits, and lead to a major in Chinese, after completion of 3 years' studies in Chinese.
Who will teach the Mandarin Chinese course?
The Initial Mandarin Chinese courses will be taught by Prof. Qianlong Wu, a native speaker of Chinese and experienced language teacher, directly from the School of Foreign Languages, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Prof. Wu will be assisted by a teacher whose native language is also Chinese. If necessary and fund permitting, we'll hire some native Chinese students working for M. A. or Ph. D. degrees at UCT as tutors to help in small groups.
What is Mandarin?
Mandarin refers to the form of the Chinese language formerly used by officials and educated people generally; or to any of the varieties of this used as a standard language in China, spec. the northern variety (Oxford Dictionary). Today, the Chinese language refers to the language used by the Chinese people, which is based on its unique form of written characters and the unified spoken form (called Putonghua), used by nearly all educated people in China. It is usually shortened as "Chinese".
Why learning Chinese?
Chinese is one of the six working languages of the United Nations, and as China is participating in more and more activities in the world, the Chinese language is becoming an important international language. No matter it is for people who would like to go into business, politics or sciences, or who are interested in linguistic studies, or who have inclination in history, culture and communication, mastering Chinese is as good as any other foreign languages in the world.
As the Chinese language is a tonal language and uses a unique written system, it may seem intimidating at first look. But, we'll start from spoken language and move gradually to the advanced levels through the communicative approach and by using the multimedia instruction, and try to make learning the language just as fun and as meaningful as learning any other subjects.
What is the purpose of the Mandarin Chinese course?
The purpose of this course is to lay groundwork for the study of modern Chinese. The course provides instruction in all four language skills of aurally understanding, speaking, reading, and writing. While the learning of sentence patterns is a major component of the course, efforts are made to help students handle simple tasks such as discussing daily routines, asking for and giving simple directions, shopping, talking on the phone, and reading and writing notes and letters. Activities designed for the course include both deductive and inductive lectures on grammatical constructions and cultural conventions as they relate to the language, and intensive drills on sounds and tones, vocabulary, sentence patterns, and traditional and simplified characters in meaningful contexts. Both pedagogically prepared texts and authentic materials including a wide variety of realia are used in this course. For the reading and writing tracks, emphasis is placed on the acquisition of character recurring components in order to systematically improve students' Chinese orthographic awareness. A daily grading system is employed.
What other Chinese courses are you going to offer?
As the section of Chinese Language and Literature grows in the future, we aim first at the completion of a major, i.e. three-year program that leads to a major in Chinese. The courses for the second and third years are under construction, and will consist of language, literature and cultural studies in subjects of Chinese studies.
We also aim at providing other Chinese courses or modules for various specific purposes: e.g. business Chinese for the Faculty of Commerce, as well as the Graduate School of Business; medical Chinese for the Faculty of Health Science, Chinese for the Faculty of Law, and Chinese studies for Communication, Intercultural Studies, etc. Such courses will be a required module, and will be a year-long course.