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Chinese VI

Course Overview

Chinese VI is a continuation of Chinese V. While continuing to refine and develop students’ Chinese language and cultural knowledge in all aspects, this course emphasizes the differences between the two discourses: conversational or spoken language, and formal or written language, with the focus gradually transitioning to the latter. Students will read increasingly formal texts, study Chinese talk shows and films that explore current cultural and social phenomena, compare US-China socio-cultural differences, and use formal language in more sophisticated interpretive assignments, oral presentations, group discussions, and compositions.


Upon successful completion of the course, students will attain approximately the Advanced-mid level of Chinese on the ACTFL proficiency scale. Students will be able to learn and use appropriately many commonly used idioms, discuss in depth topics including career path, entrepreneurship, family relation, and gender, and present both in oral and written formats their observations, thoughts, and opinions on the social-cultural phenomena.

Course Content

Unit 1

In this unit, students will develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills with the focus on formal written discourse in Chinese language. Students will watch, study, and discuss a one-hour episode of a Chinese talk show, Round Table Talk. The topic of the chosen episode is about impatience and how the development of technology reshapes people’s lifestyle into a faster pace and impact human’s attention span. As a continuation of Chinese V, this unit gives students an opportunity to compare the talk show they have studied in Chinese V about procrastination and discuss critically how procrastination and impatience, which seemingly conflict, could co-exist. Students will pause the video frequently and retell the opinions and/or arguments put forwarded by the host and guest speakers, and discuss whether they agree with them. Students will connect the topic with their own experience, express their own thoughts on the topic of impatience, and share with classmates whether any of the discussed behaviors apply to them. Students will also recognize elements of formal language used by the speakers of the show, e.g, ancient idioms and quotes from literature works, study the meaning within the cultural context, and apply the gained knowledge in their unit assignments.

Unit 2

In this unit, students will focus on developing interpretive reading and presentational writing skills on the current issues of entrepreneurship, family relation, and gender. The readings, written in formal written language, will help students develop their knowledge and skills concerning general writing styles extensively used in Chinese literature works, official documents, essays, and news. They are also good source for understanding 21st century Chinese society. Not only will students build up an appropriate cultural interpretation of meaning in written form, they also gain keen understanding of Chinese culture and society.

Unit 3

While this course emphasizes on shifting students’ language skills and knowledge from conversational discourse to formal discourse, this unit provides an opportunity for students to keep up with their development of vernacular language skills with expanded formal language vocabulary. Students will watch a feature-length film, Farewell. The film is about a Chinese family who returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch, the only one who doesn’t know she may only have a few weeks to live. Choosing this film also aims at improving students’ cultural awareness and literacy in Chinese language in an effort to develop the global awareness necessary for success in an interconnected world. This film will also be used to compare with the film, A Great Wall, used in Chinese V, to look at the changes China has gone through from 1980s to the current time, and the continuity of family relation within the context of Chinese culture.