Relevant and interesting Chinese textbooks for adult learners

Many Chinese language learners are working professionals. They’ve completed their formal educations and, for one reason or another, become students once again. Comparing to their “formal” students days, things have changed around them. Their life priorities have changed. What going though their minds have also changed.

To reflect these changes and to bring the Chinese language that is appropriate for them is what the Mandarin Express series is about.

Relevant and interesting content

The content in each lesson is highly relevant to adult learners.

From the beginning, students learn to introduce themselves, their nationalities, their jobs, their children, their leisure activities, and their life style. Gradually, students learn to articulate their thoughts about economic policies, historical events, and the latest architectural designs. There is no content related to group tours organised by teachers, or about some one getting terrible grades in the class.

A wide variety of text presentations is included, such as conversations, narrative, stories, one liners, analysis, long articles, poems, fictions, Classical Chinese, and so on.

Most importantly, the text itself is interesting, calling for genuine exchanges and engaging discussions.

Theme-based learning method

In Mandarin Express series, each lesson is about a theme, such as weather, job hunting, or travelling. In each lesson, a number of inter-related blocks are presented. Each block has its own function within the lesson.

Some blocks are to introduce new words or language patterns, while some blocks are mini tasks for students to complete. Going through these blocks, students learn new words, understand language forms and know how to use targeted languages effectively.

Levels of difficulties

The complete series provides four levels of comprehensive Mandarin Chinese instruction in simplified Chinese characters. 

In Intro and Basic Levels, pinyin is included.

  • Mandarin Express Intro Level

There are two introductory books on this level, Intro Level A and Intro Level B. The books are designed for the learners with zero background in Mandarin. Each book focuses on ten fundamental topics. This level provides students with around 600 essential words and phrases, introduced in a conversational context. Important structures are practiced and re-enforced in the Work Books.

  • Mandarin Express Basic Level

There are two books on this level, Basic Level A and Basic Level B. The books are designed for the learners with some experience in Mandarin. Each book focuses on ten important topics. A vocabulary of 700 words and phrases are introduced through conversations and stories. Key words and structures are practiced and re-enforced in Work Books.

  • Mandarin Express Pre-Intermediate Level

There are two books on this level, Pre-Intermediate Level A and Pre-Intermediate Level B. The books are designed for the learners who can carry on more advanced conversations in Mandarin and have acquired basic Chinese characters through the Chinese Reading and Writing series. Each book focuses on ten advanced topics. Targeted words and structures are practiced and re-enforced in Work Books. This level is a major step towards Chinese proficiency.

  • Mandarin Express Intermediate Level

There are two books on this level, Intermediate Level A and Intermediate Level B. The books are designed for the learners to get into historical events, world issues, and discussions of abstract topics. For students who have completed the Pre-Intermediate Level, this level will be a gateway into the real world of text. Chinese books, newspapers, and other types of media will no longer seem daunting or intimidating.


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April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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