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Chinese Mandarin Beginners Refreshers (Year 2) Short Course

Key information

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Covid-19 update: The learning doesn’t have to stop, join our online community. We will be delivering courses remotely until further notice. Live tutor support and virtual lessons will take place during advertised teaching hours. The classes are taught in small groups, so you’ll get lots of support from your tutor. Book now.

Take your learning to the next level with this Chinese Mandarin Beginners Refresher course. An ideal follow-on from the Chinese Mandarin Beginners course, you will build on your knowledge, fine-tune your skills and grow in confidence.

Why choose this course?

You already read Pinyin and can easily introduce yourself and others in Mandarin. You can tell the time when your Chinese colleague asks you Xiànzài jǐ diǎn and talk about your daily routine. Now you want to move to the next level.

Chinese Mandarin can be a difficult language to master. This is why we have introduced Chinese Mandarin Refreshers (Year 2) course. It allows you to gain a solid grasp on the foundations of beginners Chinese Mandarin, build your basic vocabulary; and perfect pronunciation and grammar so that you are fully equipped to deal with the more complex topics covered in the Lower Intermediate (Year 3) syllabus.

The course consists of one evening class a week, for a total of 30 weeks; spread across three modules, which is ideal for those with various commitments or working full-time.

All of our language short courses are taught by qualified native speakers and delivered at City, University of London’s main campus, in the heart of the capital.

Course overview

The course will revisit topics taught in the Beginners course with an emphasis on fluency and pronunciation, learning new grammar and extensive vocabulary. The course will help you build confidence, strengthen your ability to communicate more fluently and offer the opportunity to broaden your cultural understanding.

Is it right for me?

This Mandarin Chinese Beginners Refresher short course is the perfect next step after completing one of our Chinese Mandarin Beginners courses, or if you are familiar with the basics of Chinese Mandarin or other Chinese dialects.

You can check your level using our online guidelines.

The Chinese Beginners Refresher course is taught at progressive levels, starting with Module One in October. We only advise joining Module Two or Module Three if you are already familiar with the content from earlier modules (see the What will I learn? section below for module content).

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Module 1

Topics covered

  • Basic strokes;
  • Radicals and components of Chinese characters;
  • Basic rules of writing Chinese characters;
  • Currencies and prices;
  • Buying fruits;
  • Bargaining;
  • Choosing gifts;
  • Colours;
  • Shopping for clothes;
  • Food and drinks;
  • Ordering food and drinks;
  • Dining experiences;

Grammatical structures

  • Question word "duōshǎo" and its difference with “jǐ”;
  • Common measure words;
  • Comparison word "bǐ";
  • Use aspect marker "guò" to describe past experience;
  • Verbal complement “de” for result;

Learning objectives

  • Understanding basic rules of Chinese characters;
  • Asking and telling prices;
  • Buying fruits;
  • Making payment;
  • Bargaining;
  • Discussing gift options;
  • Comparing style, colour and material of clothes;
  • Talking about favourite food and drinks;
  • Ordering food and drinks;
  • Discussing food preference and dining experience;

Module 2

Topics covered

  • Public transportation;
  • Hiring a taxi;
  • Buying train or bus tickets;
  • Getting on and off transportation;
  • Hotel rooms and availability;
  • Hotel facilities and services;
  • Phone calls;
  • Receiving visitors;
  • Mobile communication;

Grammatical structures

  • Link verbs with adverbs using "de";
  • Make comparison using adjective + complement;
  • Ordinal numbers with measure words; using “de” to link a verbal phrase with a noun;
  • Shortening of noun phrases;
  • Question words used in statements;
  • Verbal complements “wán” and “hǎo”.

Learning objectives

  • Being able to recognise commonly used characters;
  • Taking a taxi;
  • Discussing traffic and road conditions;
  • Giving suggestions about travel routes;
  • Buying train tickets;
  • Asking and telling room vacancies;
  • Booking hotel room;
  • Making complaint about hotel facilities;
  • Making phone calls;
  • Inviting guests for home visit;
  • Making and receiving business phone calls;

Module 3

Topics covered

  • Socialising;
  • Small talks;
  • Favourite travel destinations;
  • Holiday experiences;
  • Writing letters;
  • Sending postcards;
  • Catching up on recent events;

Grammatical structures

  • Structure “shì…de” to express the time or manner of a past action;
  • Structure “wán…..le” to indicate the completion of an action; preposition “géi”;
  • Emphatic word “dōu”;
  • “le” for indicating change of state;
  • Negative sentences with “yě”;
  • Emphatic word “cái”;
  • Use of structure “…….de shíhou”;

Learning objectives

  • Being able to write most commonly used characters;
  • Expressing the number of times for certain actions;
  • Describing a past event in a sophisticated manner;
  • Telling a story;
  • Asking and telling favourite travel destinations;
  • Discussing holiday experiences;
  • Writing Chinese envelope using correct format;
  • Writing letters and postcards;
  • Exchanging information on recent events;
  • Making promises;



Prerequisite knowledge

This course is ideal if you have completed our Chinese Mandarin Beginners course or if you have between 30 and 40 hours of prior learning. You can check your level using our online guidelines.

Modules are taught at progressive levels so we strongly recommend starting with Module One in the autumn term.

English requirements

You will need to respond to instructions and read course documents in English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis of this Mandarin Chinese course is on listening and speaking. The lessons during the Beginners Refreshers short course focus on language that is required in authentic situations. Pinyin is used as pronunciation tool but Chinese characters will be introduced throughout the course.

Classroom activities will include:

  • role-playing;
  • classroom discussion;
  • pair and group work;
  • work on pronunciation and intonation;
  • grammar in context.

Listening to audio clips and watching videos are an important element in our lessons. More comprehensive grammar exercises and reading texts are generally set as homework.

All evaluation will take place in a relaxed and informal setting.

There is no formal assessment and no qualification is issued at the end of the course, but you will be awarded an official City, University of London certificate on completion of the course. You must attend over 70 per cent of the classes to be eligible for the certificate.

Tutor information

  • Ping Chai

    Ping Chai started her Mandarin teaching career in Nanjing University, China, where she had studied and worked before she came to the UK and studied in Westminster University and University of Sheffield.

    Ping is a chartered linguist. She has been giving in-house specialised business Chinese training for professionals, diplomats and journalists, and practicing translation over many years. Ping also has guided some learners to take HSK, CEFR, GCSE and other exams and tests. She has tutored professionals to take professional Chinese qualification exams.

Next steps