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Mandarin Chinese: First Steps in Chinese

MandarinX via edX

This course may be unavailable.


This course is your first crucial step to learning Mandarin Chinese. Establish a solid foundation of your Chinese journey.

Switching from Latin alphabet or other phonogram languages to Chinese can be intimidating and frustrating. This prerequisite course breaks down all basic characteristics of Chinese language, ensuring you have a solid foundation to be a competent speaker.

In each lesson, we will introduce one rule with practices and related dialogues. By the end of this course, you will be ready to further your knowledge in Chinese.

No previous knowledge needed. We start from the beginning!

This course was developed with the assistance of Dr. Haohsiang Liao, Director of the Chinese Language Program at MIT.


Week 1: Tones
Learn the most crucial characteristic of Mandarin Chinese–tones. You cannot speak Mandarin without singing, without tones. Week 2: Pinyin
It is absolutely useful for beginners to learn Pinyin, a transcription consisting of Latin characters. Week 3: Chinese characters
After learning Pinyin and tones, you may try to ‘draw’ characters stroke by stroke. Week 4: One Character One Syllable
It is essential to know that one character contains only one syllable. There is no prefix or suffix in Chinese. Week 5: One basic Chinese structure
Introduction to basic Chinese structure, knowing and practicing basic sentences in everyday scenario.

Taught by

Estella Y Chen


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