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The Elementary Stage of Chinese Language Courses is the Most Important Period of Chinese Learning

Nowadays, more and more people choose to learn Chinese in China, which requires the quality of Chinese language courses to improve and develop successively. During teaching Chinese as the second language of China, it has been a regular way to teach Chinese grammar since the elementary stage. But as for overseas students, Chinese language courses are difficult and Chinese grammar courses are much more difficult, especially for new Chinese learners whose mother tongue is English.

The Chinese language courses of overseas students will be generally divided into three stages, elementary, intermediate and advanced, each of which needs one year, two semesters. The first semester of elementary stage of Chinese language courses is the period for laying foundation of learning and mainly studying speech sounds (pinyin and tones), writing Chinese characters and some simple daily sentences.

At the end of the first semester, overseas students have not had the ability of listening and speaking Chinese. Until the second semester, the comprehensive learning stage of listening, speaking, reading and writing start. Compared with the first semester, the deepness and range of study contents are enlarged. Therefore students will face with the new and tough study difficulty of Chinese language courses. While the major course that carries this burden is the comprehensive Chinese language course, also called “intensive reading class”. Through the teaching of this course, students will not only grasp some vocabulary, but also learn basic grammar knowledge. The purpose of understanding spoken Chinese and communicating with others in words and grammar they have learnt will be reached. And this lays the foundation for the Chinese language courses of the second semester. Therefore, as the whole process of Chinese learning, the most important stage of Chinese learning is the elementary level, while the second semester of the elementary level is the critical period which decides whether the level of their Chinese will be higher or not.

In Chinese language course teaching we found: although the existing teaching textbooks have part of “grammar” in each lesson, the part is non-system, scattered grammar points. Only by learning these grammar points, can students not reach the expected learning goals. How to cover this shortage? Through several years’ teaching experience, the author has explored a words teaching method of “expand words to sentence” for the elementary stage of Chinese language course. That is to teach by expanding words to compound sentences and combine relevant grammar with it. In this way, words and grammar can be taught simultaneously——achieve many things at one stoke. This teaching method has outstanding knock-on effect which can not only help overseas students learn Chinese grammar gradually, but also strengthen their Chinese language sense and the ability of using Chinese language practically.

Here we will talk about some of this teaching method.

Connection: to connect all the new words in one lesson together and make a complete sentence so that students can use them to communicate after learning

For example, new words 踢——verb 足球——noun

Connect them to make a sentence: 麦克 (noun) 踢 (verb) 足球 (noun)。

Collocation: words which are taught should be collocated with certain words. That is to say, they should be set phrases in case students misuse or don’t know how to use them.

Example one, new words 作业——noun

The movement of teacher (verb): 布置→批改→讲评→发——作业 (noun);

The movement of students (verb): 做→交——作业 (noun).

Example two, text: “对”, “向”, “给”, these prepositions all represent objects and they all have relevantly fixed verbs to be collocated with.

Preposition phrase: 向他 (preposition)——学习(verb)


With the help of new Chinese teaching methods, learning Chinese in China will be the first choice of students who are interested in Chinese.

There are also many other teaching methods of “expand words to sentence”, such as extension, comparison and comprehension. Teachers of teaching Chinese as second language should create more practical teaching approaches to help students to learn Chinese more efficiently and easy.

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