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Beginners Chinese 1: 开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

Have you always wanted to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese? Are you fascinated by the sound, the script and this ancient civilisation? If so, this 16 week course can give you a solid introduction to the language. Studying 3–4 hours a week you’ll learn the essentials of reading, writing, speaking and listening in Chinese through a variety of online activities. You will cover subjects including learning to say a simple ‘hello’ and talking about jobs. By the end of the course, you’ll have developed the skills needed to speak and understand simple Chinese in everyday contexts. A perfect online short course for absolute beginners!

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Module

Module code
LXC001
Credits
0
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
0
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

This short course is designed to give you a solid introduction to the Chinese language. You'll learn the essentials of reading, writing, speaking and listening in Chinese. You’ll also develop key skills that will enhance your future study of the language.

Delivered through user-friendly, ‘bite-sized’ blocks, each week you’ll discover basic vocabulary and set phrases. Audio material, featuring recordings by native speakers of Chinese, and a wide variety of speaking activities will aid your pronunciation. Throughout the course you’ll build up your own Chinese phrase book covering varied topics including:

  • ways of greeting and responding to greetings
  • describing yourself (name, age, nationality)
  • numbers
  • talking about where you live
  • how to ask questions
  • talking about your job
  • how to introduce others
  • talking about family and friends.

You’ll learn that Chinese verbs do not change form regardless of tense and subjects preceding them; that measure words must be used between a number and a noun; nouns do not have singular and plural forms. Along with completing the weekly activities and quizzes to strengthen your learning, you’ll build your own language notebook, and gain a solid foundation of basic Chinese to move onto the next level.

You will learn

After completing this course you should be able to:

  • communicate with speakers of Chinese in a limited range of predictable and simple contexts relating to everyday situations
  • use the romanised alphabetical system Hanyu pinyin, which is used to indicate the pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese
  • learn the strokes, the stroke order, and the basic structures of Chinese characters
  • recognise 50–100 of the most frequently used words in pinyin or/and characters and be able to Word-process or handwrite them.

This course is designed to help you achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level A1 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

Learner support

You will have access to discussion forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in as these forums combine support from fellow students with input from a language-specialist learning adviser. Other support is available via the StudentHome website and Computing Helpdesk.

Course length

You’ll study around 3–4 hours per week for 16 weeks. In total this course will require around 64 hours to complete.

Future availability

Future availability of this course after October 2021 will be confirmed later this year.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    No examination
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements to this course. It’s suitable if you are completely new to Chinese and to language learning, and it does not assume any prior knowledge.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

    Course length

    You’ll study around 3–4 hours per week for 16 weeks. In total this course will require around 64 hours to complete.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    27 Feb 2021 Jun 2021 £199.00

    Registration closes 18/02/21 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    26 Jun 2021 Oct 2021 £199.00

    Registration closes 17/06/21 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    30 Oct 2021 Feb 2022 Not yet available

    Registration opens on 18/03/21

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2021/22 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials are delivered entirely online. You’ll have access to a course website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific materials and activities
    • audio and video content
    • discussion forums
    • support from language-specialist learning advisers.

    You will need

    If you wish to learn characters, a smart phone is needed to download our free Chinese character learning app.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.