ULCH51002 – Introduction to Chinese

A course unit offered in conjunction with the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning.

  • Credits: 10
  • Pre-requisite: None
  • Co-requisite: Open to students not following Honours courses in Chinese. Not open to Mandarin or Cantonese Chinese speakers. If you are studying a Modern Languages Degree, either single or joint honours, please refer to the course unit selection guidance, which includes information about eligibility for LEAP units, on your programme structure.
  • Anti-requisite: Students taking the unit for university credit as part of their degree must not have already taken the unit ULCH51010 LEAP Chinese 1. 
  • Taught during: Second semester (January to May)
  • Timetable: Timetable for the course


This course is for absolute beginners.

It introduces students to the fundamentals of Chinese grammar, reading, and writing while developing some basic communicative skills.

It aims to teach students very simple structures, lexis, and phrases, which will enable them to communicate in a limited number of common everyday situations in a Mandarin-speaking country.

This will be through learning ‘Pinyin’ (pīn yīn), the phonetic system of the Chinese language, which will also be used in assessment.

The introductory course differs from LEAP Chinese 1 in length, topics covered, and learning outcomes.

LEAP Chinese 1 is a full-year course, and goes further and deeper into the language as it is approximately double the number of teaching hours and double the number of self-study hours, whereas the introductory level – Introduction to LEAP Chinese – is only one semester long.

Though both start at the same level (absolute beginner), not all Chinese characters covered at Beginners’ level will be covered in the Introductory level.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to: 

  • handle some of the basic grammatical structures of Mandarin Chinese;
  • understand and read some familiar and daily expressions used in recurring situations and write very simple messages with the use of Pinyin;
  • communicate orally at a basic level in a limited number of common everyday situations;
  • convey a basic understanding of ways of life in China.

By the end of the course, students should be able to perform at Level A1.1 of the Common European Framework.

Transferable skills

Pair and teamwork, focused listening, informal presentations, language awareness, cultural appreciation.

Teaching and learning methods

One three-hour seminar per week, delivered through blended learning which integrates on-campus and online instruction as necessary.

This will also include online digital learning available via Blackboard and supplemented by extra online resources to aid students in their independent learning. 


Semester 2:  

  • Week 11- Listening 10% & Written Exam 50%
  • Week 12 - Oral Exam 40

 Listening Exams may be incorporated into the speaking exams if necessary

Teaching hours

36 hours (3 hours per week) including assessment time

Independent study hours

~ 62 hours (not including assessment time)

Nature and timing of feedback

Feedback will include a combination of:

  • informal ongoing oral and written feedback resulting from homework and class-based learning activities; 
  • formal written feedback will be given following every assessment.


Dr Ablimit Baki Elterish

Taught by

See timetables

Maximum entry

22 per group

Set texts

New Practical Chinese Reader Vol 1- Liu Xun. Textbook ISBN: 978-7561942772 ; Workbook ISBN: 978-7-5619-2622-2


Fee-paying students can move on to the LEAP Chinese 1, but should note that much of the material will be a repeat of the introductory unit.

For the same reason, degree students cannot take LEAP Chinese 1 for degree credits if they have already completed Introduction to LEAP Chinese.


Successful completion of this course unit will enhance your curriculum vitae and your employability by showing that you have the capacity to learn other languages and the desire to engage with other cultures.