ULCH51002 – Introduction to Chinese (A1.1)

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 (A1).
  • Taught during: Semester 2 (January to May)
  • Level of attainment: (A1.1)  By the end of the course, students should be able to perform at Level A1.1 of the Common European Framework.
  • Timetable: Click here


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 ULCH51010 - LEAP Chinese 1 (A1) 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 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 team work, focussed listening, informal presentations, language awareness, and cultural appreciation.

Teaching and learning methods

One three-hours or two 90 minutes seminars per week, delivered through blended learning which integrates on campus and on-line instruction as necessary.

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

Teaching hours

36 hours (3 hours per week) including assessment time.

Independent study hours

75 hours (not including assessment time).


All assessments are summative.

Non-credit students and members of the public need to be aware that written exams will not take place during lesson time.

Semester 2

  • Listening exam; 10% weighting; held in week 11
  • Speaking exam; 40% weighting; held in week 12
  • Written exam; 50% weighting; held in May/June, during the University exams period

Dates to be confirmed.

Nature and timing of feedback

Feedback will include a combination of informal ongoing feedback resulting from class-based learning activities and formal written feedback given following summative assessments.


Dr Ablimit Baki Elterish

Taught by

Susan Tamin

Maximum entry

23 per group

Set texts

New Practical Chinese Reader Vol 1- Liu Xun. Textbook ISBN: 978-7-5619-2623-9; Workbook ISBN: 978-7-5619-2622-2.


Fee-paying students can move on to the ULCH51010 - LEAP Chinese 1 (A1), but should note that much of the material will be a repeat of the introductory unit. For the same reason, degree students cannot take ULCH51010 - LEAP Chinese 1 (A1) for degree credits if they have already completed Introduction to LEAP Chinese. 

Students may be able to proceed to ULCH51020 - LEAP Chinese 2 (A2) subject to:

  • achieving a mark over 80%
  • agreeing to study independently the material recommended by the language tutor to reach the Common European Framework level required at the end of ULCH51010 - LEAP Chinese 1 (A1)
  • an entry-level assessment carried out by the tutor

By taking this option students agree to cover the material recommended by the language tutor independently. They will be taking this at their own risk. Once they have enrolled on the course, they are not allowed to move back to ULCH51050 LEAP Chinese 1 or ask for a refund.