Chinese Language

Fei Tian combines Chinese language and culture study that has been systematically organized into different levels. Courses range from beginning-level reading and speaking of Chinese to advanced reading of ancient Chinese texts and essay writing. Students are placed in an appropriate-level class, irrespective of their grade level, as determined by their abilities in the four modalities of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Beginning Chinese

This is an introductory course sequence for non-heritage Chinese speakers who have little or no background in Chinese. Through interactive classroom activities and practice, students will acquire fundamental knowledge of the Chinese language, developing basic skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Upon completion of this course, students should be capable of basic communication in a Mandarin-speaking environment. Students are also expected to have an active reading and speaking vocabulary of 400 Chinese characters.

Elementary Chinese

This is an introductory course sequence for heritage speakers and for learners who are not entirely new to the language. Building upon the students’ oral abilities, this course sequence develops students’ communicative competence in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in modern Mandarin Chinese, with special emphasis on reading and speaking. By the end of this course sequence, students are expected to apply in daily use an active vocabulary of 800 Chinese characters, have a good command of basic idiomatic expressions and sentence patterns, be able to converse with ease on familiar topics, and be able to write short stories and personal communications.

Intermediate Chinese

Intermediate Chinese holistically develops students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of Chinese language at the intermediate level. Students are expected to understand cumulatively 1,600 of the most commonly used Chinese characters, including 200 idioms and phrases; be able to read expository and narrative writings with familiar vocabulary; have speaking skills to cope with real-life situations; be able to write straightforward narrations and descriptions; and demonstrate a detailed understanding of Chinese culture and society.

Advanced Chinese

This course sequence further develops the students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, with an emphasis on building vocabulary and lifelong reading habits. Students explore various ways to acquire vocabulary while they gain related cultural knowledge. They also study representative authentic articles in modern Chinese from various genres and develop the ability to use different reading strategies for different purposes. In addition, students are exposed to opportunities to summarize and to explain through effective writing. Multimedia and online resources are used extensively.

Introduction to Classical Chinese

This course sequence serves as a transition from contemporary Mandarin to classical Chinese language. Through introduction of selected elementary levels of classical Chinese texts and poetry, students develop basic reading and comprehension skills in classical Chinese. They study not only syntactic patterns and vocabulary of classical Chinese but also the cultural values, philosophies, and history behind the texts. The course sequence also develops students’ skills in reading and writing in modern Chinese.

Chinese Language Arts

This course sequence (CLA I, II, III, IV) is designed for students who have completed primary education and possibly some secondary education in a Chinese-speaking country or are advanced learners or heritage speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Students who have successfully completed Introduction to Classical Chineses may also continue on to the CLA sequence. This course sequence builds on students’ native language proficiency and aims to extend and expand their linguistic and cultural knowledge. In particular, it develops students’ ability to read classical Chinese and to write in modern Chinese. At this level, students are better able to grasp some of the more profound cultural legacies of ancient China.