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Chinese

Why Study Chinese?

You may know that Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken first language in the world. Additionally, Chinese is the third most widely-used foreign language in the United States. China’s economic growth and potential are among the greatest in the world; it is one of the largest trading partners of the United States. Chinese culture is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures, having continued to develop for more than 5,000 years. Learning Chinese is intellectually and professionally rewarding.

Our Program

  • The University has offered Chinese Language instruction continuously since 1949.
  • The University set up the first American-based study abroad program with Nankai University in China.
  • In 2014, the National Security Education Program awarded a grant to establish the Chinese Flagship program at the University, making it one of twelve Flagship programs in the nation. This award recognizes the outstanding quality of Chinese language instruction in the department. This award provides exceptional opportunities to undergraduate students learning Chinese. We are training the nation’s most qualified students in the area of Chinese studies.
  • UMN Chinese learners are great! In 2013, student Anthony Dodge won first prize in the "Chinese Bridge", an international Chinese Proficiency Competition in China, after competing against 123 contestants from 77 countries. In fall 2015 and spring 2016, two and seven flagship students, respectively, were tested into intensive "Flagship Overseas Capstone Year."
  • On-campus intensive summer Chinese instruction has been offered at two levels for more than 15 years and advanced Chinese has been offered for three years.

Courses

The Chinese language program offers a structured sequence of courses from introductory to advanced levels. The curriculum of the Chinese language program is proficiency-based. The goals for teaching are based on the ACTFL (The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Proficiency Guidelines. There are 5 levels of courses with 17 sections. Each professional language instructor is in charge of one level’s instruction. In order to promote students’ learning interest and develop students' phonological sensitivity, the first two levels have adopted team teaching with “all students, all teachers” contact to expose students to different teaching styles and slightly different regional accents.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of team teaching, the first two levels have standardized curriculum and instructors have weekly group class preparation. The instruction in these courses guides the CFL learners to reach different levels of proficiency in standard Chinese and to acquire a fundamental understanding of Chinese culture. Through learning in these courses, students will be equipped with the necessary Chinese language skills to further their studies and achieve academic and/or career goals.