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Chinese Mandarin Beginners Summer Intensive (Year 1) Short Course

Key information

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Course Code:
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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.

Learn Chinese Mandarin in a few short weeks with our Beginners Summer Intensive course. This concentrated course will teach you the entire syllabus of the Beginners course in just 10 weeks during the summer term.

Why choose this course?

You’ve heard Chinese people greeting one another, sometimes with Nǐ hǎo and other times with Nín hǎo and wonder what the difference is. Your favourite food is Chinese and you would like to be able to order your favourite dishes in Mandarin. You also want to be able to say “Happy New Year” to your Chinese colleagues working in Beijing.

The Chinese Mandarin Beginners Summer Intensive course consists of two evening classes per week for a total of 10 weeks. In this time you will cover all three modules of the beginners course, giving you an excellent grasp on basic Chinese Mandarin in a short space of time.

Challenging but rewarding, the course is perfectly suited to those looking to develop a basic command of Chinese Mandarin.

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 Beginners Mandarin Chinese Summer Intensive short course focuses on daily communication and uses the phonetic system, Pinyin, to develop speaking and listening skills.

You will learn basic grammar and sentence structure around different topics and learn to read simple public signs in Chinese characters. Hands-on tasks and role play exercises are used to create realistic situations in which the use of language and culture is explored.

Is it the right level for me?

The Chinese Mandarin Beginners Summer Intensive short course is designed for complete beginners with no prior knowledge of the Chinese Mandarin language.

If you are not a complete beginner and have some prior knowledge of Chinese Mandarin, you may wish to join our Chinese Mandarin Beginners Refresher course or join Module Two or Module Three of the Chinese Mandarin Beginners course. You can check your level using our online guidelines.

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Topics covered

  • Greetings; nationality and language;
  • age and birthday;
  • time and appointment;
  • family and occupation;
  • dates and days;
  • weather and seasons;
  • directions and positions;
  • shopping and prices;
  • colours and sizes;
  • make simple comparison;
  • ask someone's opinion;
  • order food and drinks in a restaurant;
  • take taxi and buy train tickets;
  • ask about the availability of hotel rooms;
  • describe the type of room;
  • make complaints.

Grammatical structures

  • Pinyin pronunciation;
  • basic sentence structures and other words;
  • close question word "ma";
  • other question words "nǎr" and "shéi";
  • use past tense particle "le";
  • common measure words;
  • negate verbs with "méiyǒu/ méi";
  • use "zài" for present continues tense;
  • time expressions;
  • question words "shénme shíhou, duōjiǔ, háishì";
  • distinguish between the use of "kàn, kànjiàn, kàn de jiàn";
  • ordinal numbers;
  • question word "duōshǎo";
  • comparison word "bǐ";
  • use "guò" to describe a past experience;
  • position some adverbs using "de";
  • make comparison using adjective + complement;
  • use ordinal numbers with measure words.

Learning objectives

  • Greeting each other;
  • Introducing oneself and others;
  • Making small talk about nationality and age;
  • Paying compliments;
  • Obtaining information regarding time;
  • Making appointment;
  • Talking about family;
  • Discussing job and work place;
  • Talking about time and daily routine;
  • Talking about travelling plans;
  • Asking and giving directions;
  • Making a purchase and do some bargaining;
  • Ordering food and drinks;
  • Discussing food preference and dining experience;
  • Giving suggestions about travel routes;
  • Booking hotel room and complain about hotel facilities;



Prerequisite knowledge

The Chinese Mandarin Summer Intensive course is designed for complete beginners with no prior knowledge of Chinese Mandarin.

If you are not a complete beginner and have some prior knowledge of Chinese Mandarin, you may wish to join our Chinese Mandarin Beginners Refresher course or join Module Two or Module Three of the Chinese Mandarin Beginners course. You can check your level using our online guidelines.

English requirements

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

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis of the intensive summer course is on listening and speaking. The lessons focus on language that is required in authentic situations. Pinyin is used throughout the Mandarin Chinese summer course.

Classroom activities will include:

  • role-playing;
  • classroom discussion;
  • pair and group work;
  • work on pronunciation and intonation as well as;
  • 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.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Colloquial Chinese

by Qian Kan

  • Publisher: Routledge
  • ISBN: 9780415434171

Business Chinese 20 Essential Topics

by Yinghong Huang and Carrie Wei

  • Publisher: Cypress Book
  • ISBN: 1845700260

Please note:

Students are advised to purchase their own copies, available from most major bookshops.

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.

  • Jingya Huang

    Jingya Huang qualified as a Mandarin Chinese Teacher after postgraduate studies in the UK. She has taught in UK schools and worked for the Open University.

    Jingya has worked as a translator and interpreter, and taught Mandarin Chinese at all levels and business Chinese to professionals.

Next steps

This Mandarin Chinese Beyond Beginners Short Evening Course is a perfect course for students with some knowledge of Mandarin looking to perfect their language skills.…