Mandarin Chinese Language Programs

When studying for a bachelor’s degree program, the study of a foreign language is a requirement for many degree programs. Mandarin Chinese language courses typically involve an intermediate level of proficiency at the very minimum. There are Chinese language programs for univeristy students studying for basic bachelor degrees as well as for advanced language study programs.

As USA Today reports, more schools across America are teaching Mandarin Chinese language courses to students from Kindergarten upward. Mandarin Chinese has come to replace the previously popular French, Spanish and other languages in U.S. schools. China’s emergence as a major economic power has led to the popularity of the Chinese language. There are many reasons to learn Chinese in the ever changing world landscape.  Check out the Top 10 Reasons to Learn Chinese.  Nationwide, Chinese programs are being taught in approximately 550 or more elementary, junior and senior high schools. At the college level, enrollment in Chinese language courses has increased dramatically

Of course, the very best way to study Chinese is to study abroad in a full immersion environment.  Taiwan has long been recognized as the best choice for Chinese language study abroad.  Of course learning Chinese in Taiwan is not possible for everyone so there are a variety of Mandarin Chinese language courses available online.  One of the best ways to study Chinese on your own is with the Rosetta Stone Mandarin software program.  While a little pricey, it certainly costs much less than a classroom course and will help you dramatically improve your language ability if you make the committment to study regularly.

The following list of Mandarin Chinese language courses will help people get a clearer understanding of what courses are available and what they contain.

Elementary Mandarin course – this is an introduction to Mandarin course, which forms the basis of most Mandarin Chinese language courses. The course covers Chinese history and culture in relation to the Mandarin language. Also covered, is a preliminary teaching in reading and writing Chinese characters. Listening comprehension and spoken Mandarin form part of the curriculum. This elementary Mandarin course is generally presented as two complementary courses.

Intermediate Mandarin course – this is the next level following the elementary course. The teaching continues on from the themes and structures taught in the first level. The focus on reading and writing Chinese characters is intensified, with a heavier emphasis on grammar and idiomatic expressions. Reading material is extensive and includes modern texts and other literature in the Mandarin language. Offered generally as two complementary courses, conversational exercises form part of the main focus of this level.

Advanced Mandarin course – the main focus at this level is conversation. Class work is focused on expanding the vocabulary and perfecting listening and speaking skills. There is much emphasis on reading with speed, spoken Mandarin and reading comprehension.

Cantonese language course – Cantonese is another major Chinese language that is taught in several Chinese language programs. The courses may be divided into elementary, intermediate and advanced Cantonese courses, similar to the Mandarin Chinese language courses. Depending on the institution chosen, the language can be taught in stages or as one straight course to complement the Mandarin language program. The curriculum is focused on speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension.

MIT offers Mandarin Chinese language courses in a series of Chinese (regular) courses from stages I to VI. Each level covers a specific portion of the course. For example, course I is designed for beginners with no background in the language at all. Students are taught basic oral, reading and writing skills. Assignments, exams and various study materials are made available to the students free online through OpenCourseWare (OCW).

Chinese calligraphy course – this may not sound like a language study, but writing the Chinese alphabet is as much an art form as the language is. Without the right grounding in how to form and write the characters, learning the language can become extremely difficult.  The calligraphy course emphasizes the artistic side of written Chinese. Adding or deleting a stroke in Chinese can change the word and the very nature of the sentence completely.

If it's not possible for you to study Chinese abroad and you don't wish to invest in Rosetta Stone, the above recommendations should give you a good place to start as you decide which Mandarin Chinese language courses are best for you.