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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Zev Handel
CHIN 496
Seattle Campus

Special Studies in Chinese

Topics vary.

Class description

[Autumn 2010] The purpose of this course is to develop advanced Chinese reading skills by working through authentic Chinese texts that have not been modified or supplemented in any way. This quarter we will read a mix of contemporary works of short fiction and non-fiction, all published in the last year or so. In our reading we will emphasize accuracy of understanding, grammatical precision, and appreciation of style and tone, as reflected through translation into English. Through this course you will acquire the tools and develop the skills to enable you to confidently approach any unfamiliar Chinese text. The course is appropriate for beginning graduate students who wish to improve their reading skills, and for advanced undergraduates at the fourth-year level or higher (i.e. who have completed third-year Chinese or the equivalent). The course will be conducted in English. Note that this course is not appropriate for native speakers of Chinese.

Student learning goals

With the help of dictionaries, the internet, and other resources, read and understand contemporary Chinese texts.

Acquire a more precise understanding of modern Mandarin grammar and sentence structure.

Learn to translate from Chinese into English while preserving semantic and grammatical accuracy.

Develop strategies for dealing with words not found in the dictionary and with unfamiliar grammatical usages.

General method of instruction

Students will be asked to prepare careful line-by-line translations, which will be reviewed in class. Instruction on advanced grammatical structures will also be provided. The classroom environment will foster discussion of difficult points and of reading strategies.

Recommended preparation

Completion of third-year Chinese (CHIN 213 or CHIN 303) or equivalent, and a willingness to "dive in" to authentic readings without the aid of a textbook or vocabulary list. Most readings will be in simplified Chinese characters.

Class assignments and grading

Aside from regular course preparation, there will be translation-based quizzes and exams, and also some homework assignments that will help students understand the context of the pieces they read and learn to use dictionaries and the internet as resources.

Class performance, quizzes, tests, and homework.


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: 09/21/2010