Chinese

The Chinese 'Basics' section is based around modules within seven themes. This is an outline of the topics and grammar covered within each theme.

All About Me

This theme has four sections.

1. Greetings

Learn how to recognise some different greetings and goodbyes. Also learn the question 'How are you today?' and possible answers. Begin to focus on the relationship between the Chinese characters and the pinyin.

Topics

  • Vocabulary on greetings

2. Names

Learn about asking for names in various ways. Note that Chinese people tend to give their full name when they are asked the question 'What's your name?'

Topics

  • Vocabulary for names

3. Age and animal signs

Learn to how talk about your age and find out about your animal sign.

Topics

  • Vocabulary for age and animal signs

4. Nationality and language

Learn how to say what country you are from and what language you speak.

Topics

  • Vocabulary for nationality and language

Dates and Time

This theme has one section.

1. The date

Learn how to talk about days, months and dates. Also practise recognising essential characters for the days of the week and saying the date.

Topics

  • Days of the week
  • Dates
  • Months
  • Asking the date
  • Giving the date

2. Time

Learn how to tell the time in Chinese. Also learn how to talk about different times of the day such as 'morning’, ‘afternoon’ and ‘evening’. Practise recognising essential characters for telling the time and different periods of the day.

Topics

  • Different periods of the day
  • Differing times of the day
  • Asking the time
  • Telling the time

    Making Contact

    This theme has three sections.

    1. Starting a conversation

    Learn how to ask some wh- questions ('who', 'where', etc.) as well as yes/no questions. Practise recognising essential characters for asking questions.

    Topics

    • Asking questions
    • Answering questions

    Grammar

    • Question words
    • Yes/no questions
    • Question word order
    • Describing ongoing activities in Chinese

    2. Going to an Internet café

    Learn some key language that will be useful when you visit an internet café. Practise recognising essential characters for the expressions that you need at an internet café.

    Topics

    • Making enquiries
    • Asking for prices
    • Saying there’s a problem and asking for help

    Grammar

    • Modal verb 'can'
    • Yes/no questions
    • Question words 'what' and 'how much'

    3. Sending messages

    Learn how to offer good wishes in Chinese and phrases such as 'happy birthday' and 'congratulations'. Also learn some essential Chinese characters for sending emails and text messages and some useful words and expressions to use in your messages.

    Topics

    • Wishing others well

    My Life

    This theme has four sections.

    1. Daily routine

    Learn some useful words and phrases to describe your daily routine. Learn how to add extra information such as time and place to your sentences. Practise recognising essential characters for talking about your daily routine.

    Topics

    • Regular activities
    • Time of day for activities
    • How often you do activities
    • Where activities take place

    Grammar

    • Describing 'how often', 'when' and 'where'

    2. School life

    Learn some key language about school life. Also practise recognising essential characters to talk about exams and wish someone good luck. Additionally, a special group of words in Chinese, 'measure words', will be introduced.

    Topics

    • School life
    • When activities take place (yesterday, next week)
    • Taking exams
    • Wishing someone good luck

    Grammar

    • Measure words

    3. Family members

    Learn how to address family members and how to say whether your brothers and sisters are older or younger than you. Practise recognising essential characters to talk about families and siblings.

    Topics

    • Family
    • Members of the family
    • Number of brothers and sisters
    • Who you live with

    4. Sports and hobbies

    Learn words for your favourite sports and hobbies and how to talk about your likes and dislikes. Also learn to build up long phrases and sentences for both questions and answers. Practise recognising some characters to talk about hobbies.

    Topics

    • Sports and hobbies
    • Likes and dislikes

    Grammar

    • Yes / no questions using 吗 (ma)

    Numbers

    This theme has one section.

    Numbers

    Learning numbers in Chinese starting with 0 to 99, then moving on to higher numbers. Use the numbers in phone numbers, years of birth, bingo and prices. Also learn other useful phrases that contain numbers.

    Topics

    • Numbers 0–10
    • Numbers 11–99
    • Higher numbers
    • Mobile numbers
    • Ages
    • Dates of birth
    • Lottery numbers
    • Prices

    Grammar

    • Numbers 0–99
    • Numbers 100 and above
    • Measure words
    • Two words for numbers 1 and 2
    • How to say +, –, ×, ÷ and = in Chinese

    Out and About

    This theme has four sections.

    1. Food and drink

    Learn many words for different kinds of food and drink. Also learn some essential expressions for ordering food and key phrases for when you're in a restaurant. Practise recognising essential characters to order some food at a Chinese noodle bar.

    Topics

    • Ordering food and drink

    2. Shopping and haggling

    Learn the essential language for going shopping. Learn how to say what you want and how to haggle with the shop assistant. Practise recognising essential characters to buy a pair of jeans and haggle.

    Topics

    • Going shopping
    • Specifying what you want
    • Asking for the price and haggling

    Grammar

    • How to make a Chinese noun phrase with 的 (de)

    3. Taxis and directions

    Learn essential words and expressions to ask and understand directions.

    Topics

    • Taking a taxi driver
    • Asking for directions on the street

    4. Travelling around Shanghai

    Learn essential words and phrases in order to understand underground (metro) announcements. Practise asking other passengers for information.

    Topics

    • Understanding underground (metro) announcements
    • Talking to other passengers to check information

    Pinyin and Characters

    This theme has four sections.

    1. Understanding pinyin

    Learn pinyin, which shows how to pronounce Chinese characters. Start with initials and finals.

    Topics

    • Reading pinyin
    • Writing pinyin
    • Relationship between pinyin and characters
    • Initials
    • Finals

    Grammar

    • Pinyin
    • Initials and finals pronunciation guide

    2. Chinese tones

    Learn about tones and understand why they are so important. Begin to tell the difference between the four tones.

    Topics

    • Tones
    • Classical poem
    • Tongue twister

    Grammar

    • The four tones
    • Pinyin – general information and tones

    3. Recognising Chinese characters

    Learn how Chinese characters are designed and structured and how to recognise simple ones.

    Topics

    • Character recognition
    • Character formation

    Grammar

    • Chinese characters

    4. Writing Chinese characters

    Learn how to write Chinese characters: the eight basic strokes, four general structures and writing sequences.

    Topics

    • Character strokes
    • Stroke order

    Grammar

    • Eight basic strokes
    • Stroke order, writing sequence and general structure