Modern Languages and Cultures - Chinese Immersion

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This immersion introduces students to the language, customs, and cultural aspects (history, art, literature, politics, anthropology, and music) of Chinese-speaking countries. The immersion consists of three language courses or two language courses and one culture course. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. 

Notes about this immersion:

  • This immersion is closed to students majoring in applied modern language and culture who have chosen the Chinese language track, and those majoring in international and global studies who have chosen an area of study in Chinese language, a field specialization in Asia, or are native fluent speakers of Chinese.

The program code for Modern Languages and Cultures - Chinese Immersion is CHINESE-IM.

Curriculum for Modern Languages and Cultures - Chinese Immersion

Choose two or three consecutive language courses:
   Beginning Chinese I
This course is designed for beginners, with no prior study of Chinese. It introduces students to the sounds, basic sentence structures, and the writing system of Mandarin Chinese. Pinyin, the Romanization (phonetic transliteration) of Mandarin Chinese, is taught and required throughout the course. Students also learn to read and write Chinese characters. Emphasis is on developing listening and speaking skills, as well as building a vocabulary based on the ideographic Chinese characters. Chinese culture is also introduced through the course. Students must take a placement exam if this is their first RIT class in Chinese and they have some prior knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.
   Beginning Chinese II
This course continues the beginning level of Chinese study. The focus is on developing listening and speaking skills, with an increasing emphasis on reading and writing skills. Students will learn more expressions, sentence structures as well as other parts of the Chinese grammar. Further aspects of Chinese culture are also introduced, in parallel to Chinese language study.
   Intermediate Chinese I
This course begins the intermediate level of Chinese study. Knowledge of Pinyin, Chinese characters, and sentence structures covered by the beginning level of Chinese study is required before taking this course. The focus continues to be on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Further aspects of Chinese culture are also introduced, in parallel to Chinese language study.
   Intermediate Chinese II
This course continues the intermediate level of Chinese study. Knowledge of Pinyin, Chinese characters, and sentence structures covered by the first three semesters of Chinese learning is required before taking this course. The focus continues to be on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Further aspects of Chinese culture are also introduced, in parallel to Chinese language study.
   Intermediate Conversational Chinese
This course aims to improve students’ Chinese language proficiency and focuses especially on enhancing their conversational skills. The course will also increase students’ knowledge of Chinese culture in comparison with American culture through exposure to authentic sources. Students will learn expressions and manners of speaking during formal and informal Chinese conversations about their daily experiences. Students will develop their listening skills and will be able to gather general ideas and necessary details from authentic oral materials. They will also improve their abilities of narrating and describing familiar topics with various sentence structures. This course is especially suitable for students planning to study or work in China and desiring confidence and basic competence in communicating.
   Intermediate Reading and Writing in Chinese
This course is designed to enhance students’ ability to read authentic Chinese materials and write a variety of texts in Chinese, such as messages, blogs, emails, and short stories, more effectively. The main focus is to develop practical reading and writing skills that are essential for daily life by employing vocabulary, idioms, expressions, and structures in a more natural and descriptive fashion. This course provides students the opportunity to practice reading and writing strategies in meaningful and practical contexts, and to reinforce the materials that they have learned. Through reading, writing, discussion, multimedia, and presentations, students will learn the Chinese language in the context of describing nature, people, Chinese daily life and culture.
   Advanced Chinese I
This course begins the advanced level of Chinese study. It is designed to further develop competence in the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Following Intermediate Chinese II, this course continues the grammar acquisition, expansion of vocabulary with more lengthy reading and writing. Classroom discussion and writing practice are important parts of the course. By the end of the course work, students should be able to express views on serious, topical issues in increased detail.
   Advanced Chinese II
This course continues the advanced level of Chinese study. The main purpose of this course is to further develop competence in language skills as well as cultural literacy by using the textbook as well as a diversity of authentic multimedia materials that pertain to Chinese matters and values. By identifying, analyzing, comparing, and discussing both traditional and contemporary Chinese socio-cultural issues, students will acquire a better understanding of the language, culture, and Chinese society.
   Chinese for Science and Technology
This course teaches specialized terminology and linguistic structures important for communicating scientific and technological knowledge in the target language. The focus is on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interpreting technical Chinese. Students will learn science and technology terms and structures in a broad range of technical areas via experiential learning activities. In addition, students will research and present topics of their own interest or beyond their disciplines. Students will expand their knowledge of the target language to include technical terms/structures and prepare themselves to better apply their language skills in internships, research, and work while exploring and understanding the culture in professional workplaces.
   Professional Chinese
The course gives students an opportunity to study professional Chinese language and culture as well as to practice presentation and negotiation skills, especially in professional and formal contexts. Students will improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills developed in the elementary/intermediate sequence to master formal interactions in Chinese. They will learn professional vocabulary, expressions, and grammatical structures through readings, conversation, and discussion. They will cultivate expressive skills through discussion, writing assignments, and a video tutorial project. This course will be useful for students who are planning to seek employment in Chinese companies or in companies doing business in Chinese speaking areas, and also for students who want to learn more about business in Chinese culture. This is a language class; proficiency equivalent to Intermediate Chinese II is required.
One culture course may be used in place of one language course:
   Regional Archaeology*
Since the first humans set out from Africa nearly two million years ago, our ancestors and relatives managed to settle in almost every continent. Wherever they went, they left traces of their lives that are tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years deep. We call these traces the archaeological record. Almost everywhere our ancestors settled, they did many of the same things, such as inventing agriculture, cities, writing, and state-level societies. However, they did this in ways unique to each region and time. This course examines the archaeology of a specific region, such as the Middle East, Mesoamerica, North America, or East Asia, in detail. We examine the geography, culture, archaeological record, and significance of the region to various key themes in archaeological research with respect to other world regions.
   History of Premodern China
This course will examine critically the early history of China: the origins of China, the early mytho-historical dynasties, early imperial China, and finally the late imperial era, ending at roughly 1850. Students will be able to trace the relationship to the Chinese to various non-Chinese peoples, particularly the semi-nomadic peoples on the northern frontier. Students will also examine the way that China's long and complicated past has shaped its present, and how its relations to other peoples has shaped its modern relations to both its neighbors and the west.
   History of Modern China
China occupies a rather large place in the consciousness of most Americas. It is the most populous country in the world, it has one of the biggest economies in the world and, in many ways, China has been seen to be in direct competition with America. Whatever the truth of these ideas, it is clear that China will play a major role on the world stage for the foreseeable future. This class will seek to analyze the historical circumstances surrounding the rise of modern China. What were the conditions that led to the establishment of, first, Nationalist China, followed by the People's Republic; why did the communist government enjoy such popular support; what were China's relations with the outside world; and finally, what is the state of China today? These are all questions that we will seek to answer in this course.
   Conflict in Modern East Asia
The 20th century has sometimes been called the Pacific Century, which is ironic since this period of time has been anything but pacific! The twentieth century saw the rise of four great pacific powers; the U.S., Japan, China, and the Soviet Union, and saw the eclipse of several others, including the British and French Empires. Furthermore a major front of the Cold War was played out on the Asian continent, namely the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the U.S. standoff with Communist China. And of course the Second World War, the greatest concentrated period of human destruction, played out at the midpoint of the twentieth century. This class will analyze these conflicts both as conflicts in and of themselves, but will also look at the backdrop against which these conflicts were played out. Beginning with the subjugation of China in the 19th century, our class will examine the many conflicts that defined this region through the end of the twentieth century.
   East Asian Philosophy
This course is an introduction to the origin and development of the philosophical traditions of primarily China and Japan through a consideration of selected thinkers, schools, and classic texts of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Zen. Questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics are emphasized with reference to the nature of reality and the person, social harmony and self-realization, causality, right action, and enlightenment. Comparisons may also be made with Western philosophers, both contemporary and classical.
   Politics of East Asia
This course examines the East-Asian countries using the following comparative criteria as the organizing guidelines: modern political history of the country, political economy and development, governance and policy making, representation and participation, as well as major domestic and foreign policy issues. The political prospects of the countries for the 21st century will be analyzed and discussed.

* This course may be used when the topic focuses on East Asia