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    Hi, I'm just in the process of choosing my modules and am considering choosing beginners mandarin as my option module as I figured it may be my only chance to learn the language but am concerned it will be too difficult. Has anyone done the module or any other 'beginners' language modules who can tell me a bit about what they're like? Thanks!
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    I haven't done it, but I've self taught myself a bit of Japanese (ie the easier and more consistent version of Chinese) and learning languages is a whole lot of fun, and if you know the basic grammar of the language, you will be able to speak in it somewhat for a long time. So although my opinion is unqualified, I recommend it.
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    Hey! I happened to do Beginners Mandarin as an optional module for my course last year (excellent choice on your part for deciding to do it). All I can say is it was and wasn't hard. Mandarin is pretty easy to pick up and it was pretty cool to see yourself advance so fast and learn to read the characters and write them and impress your friends.

    We had three one-hour lessons a week, what slot you are put in will depend what days your lessons are. I had two slots on Monday mornings one after the other, Slot A where we went through the vocabulary at the beginning of the chapter in the textbook*, then we each had to write a sentence of Mandarin from the dialogue then we attempted to do some of the exercises. Slot B was with a teacher actually from China so you can get used to a native accent. We went over the vocab again, this time concentrating more on proper pronunciation and tones and did some oral exercises / learning the proper strokes to write the characters. You will always be set homework to be handed in the following lab session, usually a Reading comprehension and writing out the characters you have learnt for that chapter. In addition you will sometimes be asked to write a short essay in Mandarin, in preparation for the Writing aspect of your end of year exam.

    The last hour is "lab work", which I had on Fridays. You will go over the homework and these classes are more speaking focused amongst your peers. The teacher will ask you questions and you have to reply in Mandarin, or you will be presented with scenarios (eating at a restaurant) where you must order food, as examples. Pretty nerve-wracking but we were all beginners so everyone is in the same boat and the teachers, for the most part, were pretty patient with the most hopeless of us.

    Hope this helps, can't think of anything more to write about right now but if you have any further questions feel free to ask!


    *The textbooks are compulsory, there are two of them, and they will set you back £15 each. You won't need the second one until near Easter.
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    很多洋人觉得汉语四声
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