Now that you've learned the basics of Chinese pronunciation and writing, this week you will learn some new words and practice communicating! Throughout this semester, we'll use a series of lessons called "Chinese Basic 1" which is published by the Language Centre of the University of Cambridge. The full materials include 7 different lessons. This week, we will study the first of these lessons, titled "First Contact". The lesson page follows below, and after the lesson page is a short guide with my suggestions on how you should study it this week.
Start with the Lesson Dialogues
First, you should read and listen to the three short example dialogues presented in this lesson:
The first time you study each of these dialogues, be sure to click the "Show Translation" and "Show Pinyin" buttons, so that you can follow along easily. Then, press the play button and listen while reading. Do this several times for each dialogue. After listening and reading along for probably 2 to 5 times, you should have a good idea of what the speakers are saying, since the English translation has been displayed next to the transcript. Try to finish this step by Monday.
Once you have a good idea of the meaning of each phrase, you can press the button titled "Hide Translation". Now, press the play button again, read the pinyin, and speak along with the dialogue. Again, do this several times. After listening and speaking along about 5 to 10 times, you will be ready to press the "Hide Pinyin" button. You will probably be doing this step around the middle of this week.
Finally, after careful study and after listening and reading along, and eventually speaking along while reading the pinyin, you should review the dialogue by listening and reading only the Chinese characters, without viewing the pinyin or the English translation. Aim to reach this level of mastery by about Friday this week. Then, continue to review these dialogues next week and throughout the semester, displaying and reading only the Chinese characters if possible.
As part of your review of each of these dialogues, be sure to click the sections at the bottom titled "Vocabulary" and "Exercises" for reference and for self-assessment of your understanding.
Practice Reading & Learn Key Phrases
After you feel somewhat comfortable with at least one or two of the dialogues above, move along to the following sections of this lesson:
In these sections, you will learn about key vocabulary and phrases relating to greetings in Mandarin. Try speaking aloud the examples given in these sections.
Learn Key Grammar Points
This lesson covers some basic grammar points that you should know in order to use the vocabulary you're learning this week effectively. Toward the end of this week, study the following sections on grammar:
- Language Notes: Basic Pronouns
- Language Notes: Using 的 as an Attribute Marker
- Language Notes: Simple Questions
I will introduce these grammar points in more detail, with additional examples, in the Class Forums section of our Laulima site this week. In those discussion threads, you can raise any questions that you have about the grammar in this lesson. Posting questions in the class forums is optional, and not required each week.
Review Pronunciation & Writing Tips
Over the past couple weeks, I've asked you to intensively study the sound system of Chinese, and have introduced basic writing strokes and radicals at some length. The sections of lesson 1 concerning pronunciation and writing should come as easy review for you at this point. Take some time to briefly read these sections, just to refresh your knowledge of pinyin and writing:
As with the section on dialogues, there is additional content on the pronunciation page. Be sure to click the links at the bottom titled "Initials", "Finals", "Tones" etc., so that you can view all of the content.
Self-Assessment Exercises for Lesson 1
Finally, after you have finished studying the content for lesson 1, try out each of these self-assessment exercises:
You should aim to finish these exercises probably by Friday this week, or early next week. They are not graded. If you find any of these exercises difficult, please contact me with questions, or post your questions in the class forums, or go back to the relevant section of the lesson and review as necessary.