Mandarin Course Outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant Chinese Mandarin course outline for your level.

Mandarin Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Intro to Pinyin-Chinese phonetics system
  • Greetings in normal and polite ways
  • Introduce self, introduce others
  • Talking about oneself
  • Likes & dislikes
  • Taking a taxi
  • Asking about directions
  • Expressing time, days and counting numbers from 0-100
  • Shopping, asking about prices, sizes and colours
  • Buying tickets for travel; start with “qing wen 请问”
  • Talking about jobs, company and business etiquette.
  • Asking for help

Grammar:

  • Basic sentences with to be “shi是”, to have “you有” and to do “zuo做”
  • Sentences with stative verb (hen, 我很好)
  • Past, and the situation has changed with a functional marker “le”
  • Pronouns – subject “wo我”, plural form 我们,你们, 他们
  • possessive word “de的”
  • Auxiliary words e.g. “xiang 想”
  • Word order in sentences (Chinese sentence orders, difference between English and Chinese)
  • Sentence forms – statement, question and negative
  • Measure words (e.g. a cup of tea = “yi bei cha” 一杯茶 )
  • Particles with “ba 吧” “ma吗”

Cultural Content:

  • Various forms of Chinese
  • Lucky/unlucky numbers
  • Hand shaking
  • Business card
  • China tea
  • Politeness in Chinese language (different modal words)

Skills Work:

  • Extensive practice of Pinyin and tones
  • eading phonetics/ Pinyin skills
  • Focus on Pinyin, characters are optional
  • Listening practice (short simple sentences)
  • Recognizing reading a few simple characters
  • Memorize some frequently used short sentences.

Mandarin Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about day, date, month and year.
  • Ordering drinks in a pub or restaurant
  • Asking where somebody is from (country and city)
  • Describing one’s own things (a bag, a mobile phone, etc)
  • Asking for information about public transport (bus, tube, train..)
  • Ordering food in a restaurant (from entering a restaurant to paying the bill)
  • Arranging an appointment with somebody (time and location)
  • Making enquiries when shopping (size, colour of clothes, looking for fitting room )
  • Communicating with Chinese people at the dinner table (propose a toast, give compliments, etc)

Grammar:

  • Emphasize Chinese sentence order (put time and location words in front of the verb—Time+Location+Action)
  • Emphasize measure words (一杯,一个,difference between 一星期 and 一个星期)
  • Past and future with time words “zuo tian昨天” & “ming tian明天”
  • Question words: ma, shenme, nar, shenme defang, shenme shihou, zenme, ji, duoshao.
  • Chinese sentences with two words (Subject + verb1+verb2)
  • Emphasize possessive word ‘de’
  • Learn a large variety of sentence patterns according to textbook.
  • Focus on sentence patterns instead of grammar (the importance of memorizing sentence patterns in learning Chinese)

Cultural Content:

  • Chinese calendar
  • Chinese dishes and staple food/ 讲一讲菜和饭的区别
  • Various celebrations, e.g. Chinese New Year
  • Major dialects in Chinese language
  • Modesty, e.g. “na li哪里, na li哪里”

Skills Work:

  • Lots of Pinyin and tones practice (reading and listening)
  • Recognising simple characters (10-20 characters)
  • Improve intonation via practising drills and sentence patterns
  • Self-learning skills (using dictionary and online websites)
  • ractise and memorise frequently used short daily life sentences and frequently used sentence patterns.

Mandarin Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Review & practise previous level vocabulary (e.g. through dialogue creation)
  • Ask someone for help (talk to customer service)
  • Learn how to book a room in a hotel and other related hotel language
  • Learn to describe physical uncomfortableness and illness; how to talk to a doctor
  • Conversation in a post office
  • Pay compliments, praise somebody else
  • Make an apology in different situations (being late, forget things, unable to finish a task..)
  • Express gratitude formally and informally in different situations
  • Pay a compliment, ask for compensation.
  • Arrange an appointment formally and informally.

Grammar:

  • Review & practise previous level grammar (e.g. through mixed tense work – present/past/future)
  • Difference between 或者 and 还是
  • Difference between two negative words: 不 and 没有
  • Complement of degree construction : Sentence structure V+de+hen+adj (做得很好,说得很不错)
  • 好吗 and 好不好 / 行吗 and 行不行
  • Sentence structure with 怎么

Cultural Content:

  • Compliments in Chinese culture
  • Medical system in China
  • Table manners
  • Customs of celebration, e.g. special food for Chinese New Year
  • Famous Chinese Kong Fu movies

Skills Work:

  • Pronunciation – key sounds practice
  • Lots of speaking and listening practice
  • Memorize longer frequently used daily life Chinese sentences.
  • Longer oral presentation
  • Recognising characters and writing common characters practice
  • Self-learning skills (using dictionary and online websites)

Mandarin Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about one’s capability, writing simple sentences in CV
  • Refuse an invitation and express regrets
  • Agree or disagree, give others permission
  • Make a telephone call and leave a message for somebody
  • Make a request for a refund or an exchange in a shop
  • Make an excuse to leave earlier in different situations
  • Bargains in shopping
  • Ask for services in a bank (exchange money, transfer money..)
  • Saying goodbye in different situations

Grammar:

  • Review & practise previous level grammar (e.g. sentence order and tenses)
  • Difference between能 and会
  • Words about permission and refusal, agree and disagree可以,不可以,能,不能
  • Present continuous e.g. “zheng zai正在”
  • Adverbs “cai才” and “jiu就”
  • Conditional clause “yao shi要是…jiu就…”
  • Understanding potential verb phrases with “de得/bu不”
  • Attributive clause with “de的”

Cultural Content:

  • Chinese characters
  • Bargaining in China
  • Money system
  • Chinese idioms and proverbs
  • Telephone call etiquette

Skills Work:

  • Pronunciation and intonation practice
  • eading short essay practice
  • Writing common characters practice
  • Translating from Chinese to English, and vice versa
  • Improve fluency by practising situational dialogues
  • Improve presentation skills

Mandarin Elementary 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about one’s life in a new place.
  • Invite somebody to do something and arrange an appointment
  • Describe somebody, something or an event
  • Stop somebody doing something and give permission to somebody to do something
  • Remind people to do something
  • Request someone to hurry up politely
  • Express satisfaction and make a complaint about a bad service.
  • Give your opinion or suggestion to someone
  • Ask directions and give directions
  • Give reasons or explain people’s questions

Grammar:

  • Chinese words describing approximation (两三次,八九岁,二十多岁,)
  • Words and phrases for pre-condition: 如果, 如果….的话,如果….就
  • Sentences with ‘把’ and its difference with sentences with ‘被’
  • Re-cap the usage of ‘的’ to emphasize past. For example: 我是坐车来的。他是六点走的。
  • Adverbs “就” to make an emphasis. 我一会儿就去。
  • Re-cap the usage of ‘过’ indicating something experienced. 我看过/吃过/
  • Different patterns of duplication of a verb to indicate to do something quickly. 看看, 看一看,看一下
  • Linking words : 因为….所以/ 虽然….但是 Emphasize its difference from English.

Cultural content:

  • Chinese characters
  • Chinese geography and minorities, Minority issues can be different from western countries’ concepts
  • Invitation (polite form of words)
  • Buying medicines in China
  • Lucky numbers in China
  • Directions concept in China (dong nan xi bei)

Skills Work:

  • Pronunciation practice
  • Enlarge vocabulary quickly (more supplementary materials)
  • Improve skills in speaking longer Chinese sentences
  • Translating from Chinese to English, and vice versa
  • Speaking out one’s thoughts and giving opinions
  • Improve presentation skills in Chinese in different business contexts

Mandarin Elementary 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Express certainty and uncertainty about an issue
  • Choose a mobile phone and a service package
  • Express feeling odd or surprised about something you heard
  • Express worries and learn to comfort others
  • Make an apology or forgive someone
  • Make a compliment and respond to other’s compliment with modesty
  • Express one’s doubt

Grammar:

    • Three ‘de’s in Chinese, 的 得 地
    • Learn comparative forms: 更, 越来越
    • Comparision: A +bi 比+B+adj+number For example: 我比他大两岁。
    • How to indicate an action in progress: 在 ,正在,着
    • Re-cap sentences with ‘把’。 把….给…
    • Re-cap different tenses in Chinese grammar

Cultural Content:

      • Chinese characters
      • Chinese banking services
      • Travelling in China
      • Chinese holidays
      • Chinese property market and Chinese people’s concept of “home”
      • China’s business development

Skills Work:

    • Improve intonation and speaking fluency
    • Enlarge vocabulary quickly (more supplementary materials)
    • Listen to Chinese audio, video materials
    • Improve communication skills
    • Improve presentation skills in Chinese in different business contexts

Mandarin Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Agree, disagree or oppose others/ learn to debate a certain topic
  • Ask for service and get certain or uncertain answers.
  • Leave a message for somebody, or do someone a favour
  • Make an estimation; predict or guess the result of something
  • Correct someone’s mistake in speech
  • Change a plan or an appointment
  • Express regrets
  • Make a comparison

Grammar:

  • Comparison: A is as good as B / A 和 B 一样, A 和 B不一样
  • Comparison: A is not as good as B/ A没有B…
  • erbs + adverb to indicate completion or extent of an action
  • Ask somebody to do something/ 让…回答这个问题
  • How to indicate an action is about to happen: 就要
  • Linking words: 要是…..就
  • Verb+不+了 去不了、吃不了

Cultural Content:

  • Looking for a job in China
  • Chinese pottery and china
  • Colour symbolism in Chinese culture
  • Four traditional Chinese festivals

Skills Work:

  • Improve intonation by repeating some frequently used sentences
  • Improve public speaking skills without reading notes
  • Enlarge vocabulary quickly (more supplementary materials)
  • Listening to fast speed Chinese audio, video materials
  • Practise debate skill in classroom
  • Improve presentation skills in Chinese in different business contexts

Mandarin Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Formal introduction in business context including social etiquette
  • Pass on a business memo to staff members
  • Office administration staff, buying stationery or sending out posts
  • Confirm a business invitation
  • Express good wishes in different business context
  • Ask colleagues to do a favour for you
  • Make a business decision and to make compromise in business negotiation
  • Add a wide range of topics for discussion and debate in class, including: Entertainment, mass media, work, business, education, school life and routine, the environment, tourism & travel, news, social & political issues, books, generation changes, cities, people, relationships, the arts, technology, health & fitness, social life, night life, national traditions/customs & culture, consumerism, globalisation.

Grammar:

  • Re-cap linking words: not… but/ not only…but also/ although
  • New linking words: “一….就”, “不管…..都”
  • Using an adjective before a verb in Chinese: 多吃、快走、少买
  • Understand the sentence pattern “快 …了”
  • Understand the usage of the sentence patter “越…越”/ 越吃越瘦,越说越不明白
  • Focus: sentences with “被” and “让”
  • Sentence pattern “ adj+了(一)点儿”/ 价格高了一点儿

Cultural Content:

  • The roles of a business card and social etiquette in using a business card in China
  • Chinese social benefits and medical care system
  • Formal proverbs and phrases wishing one’s business success and to prosper
  • Addressing people properly in an office
  • Chinese people’s working ethics and working overtime during holidays
  • The importance of Guanxi while doing business in China

Skills Work:

  • Speaking Chinese in a business context (differentiate formal conversation and casual conversation)
  • Listening to fast speed Chinese audio, video materials (TV shows or films)
  • Enlarge vocabulary at a faster pace (with a focus on business Chinese)
  • Write short business report from research
  • Deliver business presentations in Chinese
  • Expressing one’s own opinion on current issues

Mandarin Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Make a reservation for business purposes, such as booking a meeting room or making a reservation with a bank
  • Phrases and expressions related to dealing with financial matters in a company, for example claiming expenses.
  • Apply for a job and job interviews
  • Evaluating your colleagues’ work performance
  • Answer clients’ requests and make an apology on behalf of your company
  • Official/ formal reception and farewell
  • Express regrets
  • A wide range of topics for discussion and debate in class, including: Entertainment, mass media, work, business, education, school life and routine, the environment, tourism & travel, news, social & political issues, books, generation changes, cities, people, relationships, the arts, technology, health & fitness, social life, night life, national traditions/customs & culture, consumerism, globalisation.

Grammar:

  • Insert ‘ge’ and other modifying words into some two-character words. For example: 睡个好觉,跳个舞,吃个饭
  • More on sentences with ‘把’. 把书拿过来,把包带过来,把信寄过来
  • Question pattern “难道…吗?” indicates incredulity. Example: 你难道不知道吗?
  • Difference between ‘再’ and ‘又’
  • Re-cap paired linking words: 不但….而且/ 因为…所以/虽然…但是
  • Comparison patterns: A 比 B.. ..A 比B 更…A 没有 B….A不如B

Cultural Content:

  • Addressing a person by their position, age, profession instead of their names
  • Look for a job in China. (Employment situations changed dramatically in China during the past 2 decades.)
  • Chinese ways of showing modesty
  • Characters for Chinese numbers
  • Main business fairs in China

Skills Work:

  • Speaking Chinese in a given business situation.
  • Listening to fast speed Chinese audio, video materials
  • Read Chinese meeting schedules, products manual, etc.
  • Learn writing short stories or reports in Chinese characters.
  • Improve research abilities by using Chinese key words
  • Deliver short business presentations in Chinese
  • Discussion in groups about current issues from newspapers or magazines.

Mandarin Upper Intermediate

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Attend a management meeting and discuss some business strategies
  • Attend a media strategy meeting and prepare for a company event.
  • Talk about one’s work progress
  • Chair a media conference and speak to media people
  • Provide consulting services to a company
  • Official/ formal reception and farewell
  • To reach a general conclusion for a discussion
  • A wide range of topics for discussion and debate in class, including: Entertainment, mass media, work, business, education, etc

Grammar:

  • Sentence pattern “就这么定了” “就这么着了” to indicate a decision.
  • “只有…才” to link a conditional complex sentence
  • ‘之所以…是因为…’ using this pair of linking words to put result before reason.
  • ‘是….的’ to emphasize a fact. For example: 任务是艰巨的
  • Formal and polite forms to address an organization
  • Relative clauses (not only…but…)
  • More negative forms e.g. “fou否”
  • Conjunctions
  • Punctuation

Cultural Content:

  • Chinese idioms and proverbs
  • Chinese websites and media industry
  • Chinese abbreviation
  • Food safety in China
  • Names of government organizations and state owned enterprises
  • Chinese provinces

Skills Work:

  • Extensive speaking/active practice inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Extensive listening practice, normal speed Chinese conversation
  • Re-drafting Extensive reading practice
  • Lots of writing practice e.g. CV and covering letter
  • Written notes/letters

Mandarin Advanced

Topics & Vocabulary:

At this level, the teaching will be tailored to meet students’ demands to improve their command of Chinese language. Teachers will be helping students to enlarge their vocabulary and help them to express their ideas in a higher level of spoken Chinese.

Topic oriented teaching: In class, teacher will add a large variety of topics into teaching, such as entertainment, media, business, education, school life, cities, people, relationships, the arts, technology, social life, night life, national traditions/customs & culture, globalization, etc. Original multimedia materials such as Chinese video and audio will be added in teaching.

Students are encouraged to repeat what they read, listened and watched with the guidance and support from teacher. Meanwhile, with teacher’s guidance, students are also encouraged to have a deeper discussion about current issues.

Students are required to write longer articles about their daily life stories and their view of the world.

Presentation skills: Teacher will help students to organise longer presentation with different professional topics that students are interested in.

Students will have intensive practise in class to improve their listening, speaking, reading and presentation skills.

Mandarin Proficiency

Topics & Vocabulary:

In this level, the teaching will be tailored to meet students’ specific demands in their professional development and language command. Teachers will be helping students to enlarge their vocabulary and help them to express their ideas in a very high level of professional Chinese.

Students will be playing a major role in classroom, getting involved in a lot of discussion, debate and presentation practice.

News: With selections of current news stories about China, teacher organizes students to discuss and debate about China’s development, problems and roles in the world. Also discuss about the cultural differences between the East and the West.

Videos: Students will have opportunity to watch up-to-date Chinese TV plays, shows to experience real life Chinese language. (Classroom should have white board or multimedia equipment.)

Reports: Students are required to do research and write short reports about current issues, such as politics, economy, culture and environment.

Professional presentation: Students are required to deliver formal and longer presentations in Chinese in their preferred area, such as finance, business, law, media, management and science. Teacher will help students find out their weaknesses and common mistakes.

Students will have intensive practise in class to improve their listening, speaking, reading and presentation skills to meet a professional demand.

 

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