This Chinese course offers an invaluable opportunity for students to study must read Chinese texts, including both classical and vernacular texts ranging from 2100 BCE to 1950s CE, and to gain tremendous insights into Chinese language, society and culture.
120 - 180 class hours
How Does It Work
Featuring Chinese texts that have a range of nearly 4000 years, this is a Chinese course that provides wonderful opportunities for students to reflect on changes of social values, impacts of political ideas on Chinese society, and in particular, 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. In this course, students will be able to enjoy the original writings of these famous writers whose ideas have had such a profound impact on the trajectory of Chinese history.
Also, 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, famous Chinese poetries, essays, and timeless Chinese philosophies, are included in their original forms for students to get a glimpse into this massive Chinese treasure house.
In order to get a holistic view, 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.
Evaluation of Progress
Presentations in Chinese on various topics are served as the main assessment. Students are expected to present on every chapter.
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