The meaning of “express” in Mandarin Express

Thursday, 01 February 2018

Mandarin Chinese is a language. One reason of learning a new language is to learn a new way of expressing ourselves. More over, "to express" has a built-in quality of clarity. We learn how to express ourselves in a new language and make all our expressions clear. Therefore, the first meaning of "express" in the title of textbook Mandarin Express series is "to express": to say something in Chinese and to say it clearly.

There are many reasons for people to have the desire to say something. One of the reasons is to make themselves understood by others. Therefore, "to express" implies the existence of an interlocutor, who is listening to these expressions and possibly responds. Thus, there is an exchange between the person who is expressing and the person who is listening. The flows are quite possible coming from both ends. The person who is expressing will also listen, and the person who is listening will also express. Therefore, "to express" can not be separated from "to listen".

To this end, Mandarin Express series was designed as a series focusing on exchanging ideas. Students express themselves, their identities, experiences, and thoughts. And these expressions aim to elicit responds from others. At the same time, students must learn to listen. Listening to a new language with full comprehension is not an easy task. This is the reason that all Work Books are full of different, and quite often difficult, listening exercises.

The second meaning of "express" is to send something through a special route, such as an express train. For Mandarin Express series, this special route is to take students from "ni hao" to cultural literacy. The difference is that students are not passive passengers. They are required to make some effort in this journey.

To help students carry on, this journey is carefully divided into many stops, i.e. different levels and half levels. Each stop takes students a little bit further and calls forth the next stop. Students' Chinese ability and skills increase gradually from stop to stop. The increased ability and skills enable students to travel to the next stop. There is no short cut in this route. Stops are sequenced in a particular way to maximize the best outcome.

Learning Chinese is a long and difficult journey. But, for people who are smart enough, persistent enough, this "express" route will promise them a fantastic and rewarding experience.


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