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The Contents of Culture in Chinese Teaching as a Foreign Language

Language is not only a part of the culture but also the carrier of the culture and the basis of the culture development. Therefore, the culture is the essential part of the teaching contents in language teaching because the language understanding and language usage is impossible without certain cultural factors. As a result, teachers should deal with the relationship between language and culture in Chinese teaching so that the students who learn Chinese in China can acquire Chinese and Chinese culture.

However, first of all, we should know the cultural contents in Chinese language teaching. We all know that the contents of culture are very widely and there are a variety of definitions about the culture. From the perspective of the language teaching, we will introduce the classification to those who study in China, that is, the knowledge culture and the communication culture put forward by Professor Zhang Zhanyi.

The knowledge culture means the cultural background knowledge that is not directly affected by the words or sentences understanding when people from two different cultural backgrounds are in communication. For the communication culture, when the people from different cultural backgrounds are communicating, it might be some misunderstandings about certain words or sentences because of the lack of cultural background knowledge. When learners study Chinese, the cultural knowledge that causes the misunderstanding is the communication culture.

In specific, the knowledge culture includes the economy, politic, geography, history and literature and so on. And the communication culture mainly indicates the cultural factors that are implied in the language. For those foreigners who learn Mandarin in China, it is acceptable for them to know little about the knowledge culture. However, it will badly influence the social communication directly if you are lack of relevant communication culture.

In Chinese teaching as a foreign language, we should attach the same importance to both the knowledge culture and the communication knowledge. From the view of the cultural classification, the communication culture is more closely related to the language. Therefore, in the process when teacher teach Mandarin Chinese, they should lead the communication culture in the beginning stage of teaching and lead in the knowledge culture as the gradual deepening of the language teaching.

For instance, before Chinese people accepting others gift, they usually say some polite words to refuse it. This kind of behavior causes much confuse for those who just come to learn Chinese language in Chinawhether they like it or not. This is the misunderstanding caused by the difference of the communication culture. Therefore, teachers should lead in some relevant communication culture when teaching Chineselanguage knowledge and skill, they.

Then, foreign learners who study Mandarin Chinese in China should know what kinds of culture can directly affected the language learning and usage. The linguist Chen Guanglei ever classified it into six types of culture. The first one is the custom culture that is formed by the manners and customs in daily life and social activities, including address, salutation, enquiring, and apology and calling and so on.

The followings are more that students in Mandarin learning courses should know. The culture formed by the thinking ways, the Chinese character culture from the characteristics of Chinese characters, the historical and cultural allusions as well as the culture about the national psychology and social consciousness are all important. Besides, the culture about the body language is also useful in people’s daily life.

All above is important cultural knowledge that teachers should explain in Chinese language teaching. Among the various aspects of cultural contents, some are characterized in China and some are easy to cause misunderstanding with cultural differences. If teachers in Chinese language school do not explain the differences, the students’ social activities in China may be greatly affected.

Some people regard the language teaching, communication culture and knowledge culture as the base, ladder and spire of a tower respectively. And we think that the importance of the culture is difference in different stages of language teaching. In the elementary stage, teachers should teach some communication culture in language teaching. And for those intermediate and advanced students who learn Mandarin Chinese in China, they need more knowledge culture.

Both the knowledge culture and communication knowledge are important contents of culture in Chinese teaching as a foreign language. Besides, the contents of culture in language teaching are rich so teachers should use different teaching methods to help students gain relevant cultural knowledge in Chinese learning.

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