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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Zev Handel
Seattle Campus

Languages and Cultures of China

Provides a general survey of the languages and language-families in China, emphasizing the rich linguistic diversity found there today. Languages compared with English, from linguistic and cultural perspectives, to demonstrate not only characteristics but also mutual dependence throughout their development.

Class description

Although the Han Chinese ethnicity makes up the vast majority of its immense population, China is also home to dozens of culturally distinct peoples speaking over 100 different languages. Some of these ethnic groups, like the Tibetans, Uyghur and Zhuang, number in the millions, while others are on the verge of extinction or assimilation.

In this course we will explore the languages and cultures of the many peoples of China,gaining an understanding of the colorful demographic tapestry of which they form a part, and investigating some of the complex issues of national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural identity that have arisen from the interactions of these peoples throughout China’s long history.

Student learning goals

Know the major ethnic groups in modern China and the languages that they speak.

Understand the linguistic diversity of the Chinese languages.

Understand some of the complex historical relationships among these languages and peoples.

Gain an understanding of how current language policies and migration patterns are affecting and will affect linguistic and cultural patterns in China.

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussion

Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

Writing assignments

Primarily homework assignments, midterm, final, and short paper(s).

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Zev Handel
Date: 02/15/2010