Rhodes University is proud to now offer Chinese as a language course in the School of Languages.
From 2009, Rhodes University's School of Languages is offering a one year credit-bearing course in Chinese. Previously only Stellenbosch and UNISA offered Chinese in South Africa. This general practical language course is designed for students whose mother tongue is other than Chinese. Due to its sustained enrolment, Chinese has been developed into Chinese 2 they aim to develop Chinese 3 for 2011.
The purpose of the course is to provide an opportunity for learners to acquire some basic communicative skills in Chinese with an awareness of and preliminary understanding of the cultural aspects of Chinese. This will include the acquisition of some aspects of a basic repertoire of Chinese characters in terms of their uses in everyday spoken and written situations, with a view to their cultural context of communication in Chinese. Students who have successfully completed the course will be able to understand and speak Chinese in a number of everyday situations and will know a basic set of Chinese characters. The course comprises three lectures, one tutorial and one practical session per week. Scholarships for intensive short courses in China will be available for students who perform well in this course.
Professor Ma Yue has been seconded from the College of Chinese Language and Culture, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Peoples' Republic of China. Jinan University has been specialising in teaching Chinese as a foreign language since 1906. Professor Ma has been involved in second language teaching for 25 years. In 2001 he led an expert team to re-introduce the teaching of Chinese in Indonesia, which had been illegal for 35 years.
The Chinese Language
The Chinese language (also known as Mandarin or putonghua) is at least 3000 years old. It belongs to the population of a vast country, uniting more human beings than any other language (there are more than 1.3 billion mother tongue speakers). People who do not speak the language think it is extraordinarily difficult to learn yet it is without regular or irregular verb conjugation, gender or plurals. No spelling rules apply. The best tool for writing the language is a brush.
Who should learn Chinese?
- Students who plan to major in Commerce subjects - China is fast becoming a dominant economic and business influence in Africa.
- Students who plan to major in Political and International Studies - China is already a major global political force.
- Students who are doing linguistics - Chinese is a prime example of a non-Indo-European language.
- Students who plan to teach English as a second language in China - this will give you a head start in this foreign environment.
- Anyone who is interested in Chinese culture, literature and history.
Why learn Chinese? A personal answer
I am very pleased to see that Rhodes University is offering Chinese from 2009. I consider this project to be of great importance for a number of reasons and commend you for the initiative. I have spent 34 years in international business, including two assignments in Asia, and have seen the work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit of the region at first hand. It is also no coincidence that the Chinese value education more highly than almost anything else. We should remember that before the Industrial revolution, China was the largest economy in the world - it just happened to lapse into isolated social, political and economic 'hibernation' for the intervening centuries! Partly for that reason, until relatively recently the West seriously underestimated China and its economic and political significance and is now struggling to build relationships and an understanding of its complex ways. We neglect the study of China at our peril - its influence will be felt by all of us in the decades to come. -- Ewan Copeland
-- Ewan Copeland, a Rhodes Trustee in the UK, is currently Group Executive and Industry Head of City Group. He is responsible for clients in the consumer goods, retail, pharmaceutical and health care industries world-wide. His client portfolio represents assets in excess of $50 billion.
The introduction and development of Chinese at Rhodes University is a joint project of: The Confucius Institute (funded by the Chinese Language Council International, otherwise known as the Hanban), the Rhodes School of Languages and Jinan University.
For more information, please visit the Rhodes University Confucius Institute Website.