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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-unit course can give you a solid introduction to the language. Through 3–4 study hours per unit 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!

This course teaches Mandarin Chinese and simplified characters.

After successfully completing this short course, you will receive a digital badge. This can be shared on social media, added to email signatures or act as a certificate.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
LGXC001
Credits
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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, in each unit 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 activities and quiz in each unit 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.

Please note that although this course is non-accredited, it can be used towards the module Making your learning count (YXM130) to gain OU credits.

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.

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.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying LGXC001 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

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.


    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements for 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

    The course is made up of 16 units, with each unit expected to take about 3–4 hours to study. In total, you’ll need around 64 hours to complete the course.

    You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace. The course will be open to you for a time period of between 6 and 18 months depending on your course registration date and you will be advised of the specific time limitations upon enrolment.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £195.00

    Registration opens on 08/01/22

    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 2021/22 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2022/23 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 and there is no formal tuition for this course.

    Your study is self-directed and you’ll have access to a course website, which includes:

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

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.