Lectures: 4 sessions / week, 1 hour / session
This subject is the second semester of four that form an introduction to modern standard Chinese, commonly called Mandarin. Though not everyone taking this course will be an absolute beginner, the course presupposes only MIT course 21F.101 / 21F.151, the beginning course in the sequence. Students with some prior knowledge of Mandarin (typically gained from growing up in a Chinese speaking community), but no reading (or writing) ability should take the streamlined beginning subject, MIT course 21F.107 / 21F.157, offered in the Fall - or, if they have the background, the sequel to that subject, MIT course 21F.108 / 21F.158.
The purpose to this course is to develop (a) basic conversational abilities (pronunciation, fundamental grammatical patterns, common vocabulary, and standard usage), (b) basic reading skills (in both the traditional character set and the simplified) as well as writing skills (in one or the other), and (c) an understanding of the language learning process so that you are able to continue studying effectively on your own.
The main text in this course is J. K. Wheatley's Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin, Part 2 (unpublished, but available online). (Part 1 of the book forms the basis of MIT course 21F.101/21F.151, which is also published on OpenCourseWare.) The complete textbook consists of a total of 12 major units (plus a number of peripheral chapters). Chinese 1 covered the first 4 units minus the Unit 4 character lesson. Chinese 2 begins with Chars 4 and proceeds to the end of Unit 7 (leaving Chars 7 for the beginning of Chinese 3).
DeFrancis, John, ed. ABC Chinese-English Dictionary (regular or pocket edition). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996. ASIN: 0824817443 (regular); ISBN: 0824821548 (pocket).
This is the only Chinese-to-English dictionary ordered by alphabet without reference to the head character of a word. In effect, it allows you to look up a word on the basis of its pronunciation alone, with no knowledge of the characters associated with it (though searching by character is also possible.)
Yuan, Boping, and Sally Church, eds. The Starter Oxford Chinese Dictionary. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0198602588.
This is a handy starter's dictionary, with good definitions and clear format.
Manser, Martin H., ed. Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999. ASIN: 0195911512.
More entries than the previous dictionary, and with English-to-Chinese.
As the calendar shows, there are four tests spaced fairly evenly through the semester, and an orally delivered presentation towards the end. There will be frequent unannounced quizzes that will be factored into the 'class grade'. There is also a list of the assignments that are due before each class. The textbook contains exercises designed to check on mastery of each section; some of these will be collected at the beginning of the classes on which they are due; answers will be posted periodically on the MIT server. Written tests will cover pinyin transcription (including tone), grammatical knowledge, usage (choice of words), appropriateness (choice of expression in a context), comprehension, and reading in characters. For the final project, pairs of students will give a 5 to 10 minute illustrated presentation on a topic that bears on material covered during the term.
The course grade will be based on class performance (40%), and on tests and the project (60%: 5 items for 12% each). Class performance will be evaluated on the basis of attendance (including promptness), and preparedness (as demonstrated by performance and quizzes). Other factors may come in to play, eg improvement versus deterioration over the course of the semester, and progress relative to starting level. Quizzes or tests missed without written excuse cannot be made up. Attendance and promptness is assumed; more than four unexcused absences (a week's worth) lowers your grade one letter; significant lateness will add up to absences.