This Chinese course is a high level course, presenting an invaluable opportunity for students to study must read Chinese texts, including both classical and vernacular texts, ranging from 2100 BCE to 1950s CE.
Starting from Mandarin Express Pre-Intermediate Level A, central topics have been gradually shifting from daily life to more complex questions. And this Chinese course truly provides students opportunities to reflect on social values and political issues, and particularly impresses on them the abrupt change happened to Chinese language during the early twentieth century.
Before 1920s, there were two versions of Chinese, vernacular Chinese used in daily conversations, and classical Chinese used in writings. The sentence structures and word choices are very different between these two versions. However, around the late 1920s, nearly all Chinese newspapers, books, and official documents were written in vernacular Chinese. The driving force behind this sea change was the May Fourth Movement. Great thinkers and writers at the time, such as Hu Shih, Lu Xun, and Chen Duxiu, basically defined Mandarin Chinese as we teach and learn today. However, this abrupt change in Chinese language also created a rupture, the result of which is the fact that most people nowadays are no longer able to read classical texts.
Of all the ancient languages, only Chinese has survived and continues to be dynamic. Its long and stable history is something many other languages are rightly envious of. And in the long Chinese literary history, Classical Chinese occupies a significant part. For anyone who is learning Chinese, not learning some classical Chinese is a tremendous loss.
Therefore, in Mandarin Express Intermediate Level B, famous Chinese poetries and essays, highly influential journal articles and novels, and timeless Chinese philosophies, in a range of 4000 years, are included. Students will study brilliant and stellar works by the great thinkers of the May Fourth Movement, also learn some of the equally brilliant and stellar works produced in the classical Chinese format. Moreover, students are invited to research for the historical background of the authors and the readings, and are encouraged to read more of the same authors or of the same period of time.
This course offers great insights into Chinese language, which has been evolving with history, and Chinese culture, on which other forces have made huge impacts, and shows the close relationship between the two.
Additional Chinese videos on the internet are used to expand the scope of perspectives and to advance students listening abilities.
Evaluation of Progress
Students are assessed based on their presentations of additional information about the authors and the historical background of the readings, and their analysis of the Chinese texts.
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