Frequently Asked Questions 问题集


English   中文

 

 

1.       Which programme series suit me? Chinese as a Foreign/ Second Language (CFSL) or Chinese native speaker series?

2.       Which study mode is most suitable to me? Full time programmes, seasonal intensive programmes or part time evening courses?

3.       Which level suits me? What criteria does CLC used to place students?

4.    I am not a beginner and I want to join a class. But I don't know my level either. What can I do? Do you have any placement?

5.    Is there any trial class? 

6.       Putonghua (Mandarin) courses or Cantonese courses?

7.       Traditional Chinese Characters or Simplified Chinese Characters?

8.    I lived in China for sometime and I got HSK level 8's certificate. I can read Chinese characters. I speak Putonghua well. I want to learn Cantonese now. But I don't want to join the "non-native Chinese speaking stream". Can I join the "native Chinese speaking stream"?

9.    I live in Hong Kong for a long time and my Cantonese is very good. I am a Japanese and I know many Chinese characters. I want to learn Putonghua now. I don’t want to join the non-native speaker class. Can I join the class for native Chinese speakers?

10.     Can I take Chinese Language open exams? Which one suits me?

 

 

1.

Q. Which programme series suit me? Chinese as a Foreign/ Second Language (CFSL) or Chinese native speaker series?

 

A.

Features of non-native Chinese speaker series

Courses for non-native Chinese speakers use pinyin or romanization in the teaching materials. Putonghua courses introduce some frequently used Chinese characters as well. The medium of teaching is either Putonghua or Cantonese depends on programme type. Elementary courses are supplemented with English. Elementary Cantonese course exclusively for Japanese speakers is also available.

 

Features of native Chinese speaker series

Courses for native Chinese speakers use mainly Chinese characters in the teaching materials and supplemented with Putonghua pinyin or Cantonese Romanization. Medium of teaching is either Putonghua or Cantonese depends on programme type. Comparison between Cantonese and Putonghua in expression and pronunciation is one of the important topics in the curriculum.

 

The Center uses the following principles in counseling students to a programme.

 

Non-native Chinese speaker series is suitable to the following people

1.     Those who are without knowledge of Chinese characters or identify less than 3000 Chinese characters.

2.     Neither his/ her Cantonese speaking nor Putonghua speaking is close to native level

 

Native Chinese speaker series is suitable to the following people:

1.     Those who can recognize at least 3000 Chinese characters.

2.     Whose mother tongue or primary language is Putonghua or Cantonese

 

2.

Q. Which study mode is most suitable to me? Full time programmes, seasonal intensive programmes or part time evening courses?

 

A. CUHK-CLC offers 3 study modes for Chinese language continuing education, namely (a) Full time Award-bearing Programmes (b) Seasonal Intensive Programmes (c) Part time Award-bearing Programmes. Students can make decision base on his/ her study goal (target attainable level), lesson time and budget.

 

Full time award-bearing programmes offer only to learners of Chinese as a foreign/ second language (CFSL). Comprised of mainly daytime courses, a student can study from 4 months to 3 years. “Certificate”, “Diploma” and “Advanced Diploma” award will be conferred on eligible students. A top up degree programme in carefully selected China colleges will be launched in 2008.

 

Seasonal intensive programmes offered mainly in Summer and Winter consists of daytime courses which last from 1 to 15 weeks.

 

Part-time award-bearing programmes usually held in the evening in one of our downtown centers. Only a few are held during daytime. Students from the Chinese as a Foreign/ Second Language stream can attain up to “Foundation Certificate” level, while “Chinese native speaker” stream can attain up to “Certificate” and “Diploma” level.

 

All the programme modes mentioned aim at building Chinese oral proficiency. CFSL Putonghua evening courses teach some Chinese characters which constitute about 20% of course assessment. Those who are in particular interest in Chinese characters can choose Chinese reading and writing modules which normally offered during daytime.

 

Generally speaking, if other conditions being equal, participation in full time CFSL programme for 2 semesters (half year) is equivalent to participation in part time CFSL programme for 10 semesters (2.5 years). So, it is highly recommended that those who want to attain a reasonably good Chinese level at a shorter period to opt for full time programmes.

 

3.

Q. Which level suits me? What criteria does CLC used to place students?

A.

CLC’s Chinese Language continuing education programmes (evening courses) are divided into 4 streams.

(a)     Putonghua for Non-native Chinese speakers

(b)     Putonghua for Native Chinese speakers

(c)     Cantonese for Non-native Chinese speakers

(d)     Cantonese for Native Chinese speakers

 

Each stream has different levels. (Here only shows non-native speakers’ stream. For native speakers’ stream please refer to Chinese version FAQ.)

 

Stream

Levels

Target students

 

 

Study hours completed before 

No. of vocabulary known

Putonghua for Non-native Chinese Speakers

初一 Elementary I

0-40

0-150

初二 Elementary II

40-80

150-300

初高一 Upper Elementary I

80-120

300-450

初高二 Upper Elementary II

120-160

450-600

中一 Intermediate I

160-200

600-750

中二 Intermediate II

200-240

750-900

中高一 Upper Intermediate I

240-280

900-1050

中高二 Upper intermediate II

280-320

1050-1200

高一 Advanced I (PTH4443)Communication Skills on Business Topics I

At least 320 hours

At least 1500 words

高二 Advanced II (PTH4413)News Media & Presentation Skills (I)

 

 

高三 Advanced IIIPTH4423: Speech Preparation & Presentation Skills I

 

 

Cantonese for Non-native Chinese Speakers

Elementary

Beginners or those who studied for less than 40 hours

Intermediate

Those who had studied for at least 40 hours

 

4.

Q. I am not a beginner and I want to join a class. But I don't know my level either. What can I do? Do you have any placement?

 

A. Please visit the Placement section of the web site for details.

 

5.

Q. Is there any trial class?

 

A. There is no such practice among language units in all the tertiary institutions in Hong Kong. CLC doese not allow any trial class.

 

6.

Q. Putonghua (Mandarin) courses or Cantonese courses?

 

A. Putonghua, also meant “Standard Chinese” is the common language in China. Learning Putonghua helps those aiming at Chinese businesses and personal career. Cantonese is one of the most widely spoken, creative and refined Chinese dialects. If one wants to enjoy his/ her living in Hong Kong and to understand the local culture, learning Cantonese is inevitable.

 

7.

Q. Traditional Chinese Characters or Simplified Chinese Characters?

 

A. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan use mainly traditional Chinese. China and Singapore use simplified Chinese. There are many commonalities between the two writing systems. On the other hand, many Chinese characters in Japanese and Korean languages also referred to traditional Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese has a very long history and perfectly reveal the long Chinese heritage, while simplified Chinese is relatively easier to learn.

 

CUHK-CLC Putonghua courses teach simplified Chinese. All Cantonese teaching materials, if include Chinese characters, will be printed in traditional Chinese. Chinese reading and writing modules mainly teach traditional Chinese characters.

 

8.

Q. I lived in China for sometime and I got HSK level 8's certificate. I can read Chinese characters. I speak Putonghua well. I want to learn Cantonese now. But I don't want to join the "non-native Chinese speaking stream". Can I join the "native Chinese speaking stream"?

 

A: Normally, the Center will not accept such an arrangement. If a student insists, please consider the following:

 

1.   The applicant must pass the placement assessment in both Putonghua and Cantonese. Placement fee: HK$600.

2.   The pedagogy is very different. While both apply Cantonese Romanization, “Native Chinese speaking stream” uses mainly Chinese characters and “non native Chinese speaking stream” uses English. At least knowledge of 4000 Chinese characters’ is needed for the “Native Chinese speaking stream”. Teachers rarely explain the vocabularies in class because in the “Native Chinese speaking stream”, as a native Chinese should know those words readily. The teacher also uses local slang to heighten the learning of this particular group. Contrast between Putonghua and Cantonese phrases is one of the big topics in the “native Chinese speaking stream” but not in the “non-native Chinese speaking stream”. Student can ask the general office staff to have a look on the text books in making your decision.

3.   Native Chinese speaking stream equips native Chinese speaking to learn another Chinese dialect (Putonghua/ Cantonese) at quicker speed. Normally, a native Chinese speaker can master that within 200 study hours. However, for “non-native speaking stream”, at least 1200 hours are needed to somehow mastering the language.

4.   In a Cantonese class of “native Chinese speaking stream”, student composition is mainly mainland Chinese expatriates and families. Sometimes, a non-native Chinese speaker may find it not easy to adapt to the pace of learning.

 

9.

Q. I live in Hong Kong for a long time and my Cantonese is very good. I am a Japanese and I know many Chinese characters. I want to learn Putonghua now. I don’t want to join the non-native speaker class. Can I join the class for native Chinese speakers?

 

A: This is not recommended from the academic perspective. But if a student insists, please pay attention to the following:

 

1.   The applicant must pass the placement assessment in both Putonghua and Cantonese. Placement fee: HK$600.

2.   The pedagogy is very different. While both apply Hanyu Pinyin, the Putonghua courses for native Chinese speakers are mainly equipping students to learn Putonghua from the Cantonese language perspective and to prepare them for some national benchmarking examinations. These exams (such as “PSC”), the pass rate is only 60% for native Chinese speakers and it is nearly impossible for a non-native Chinese speaker to pass these kind of exam.

3.   “Native Chinese speaking stream” uses mainly Chinese characters and “non native Chinese speaking stream” uses English. At least knowledge of 4000 Chinese characters’ is needed for the “Native Chinese speaking stream”. Teachers rarely explain the vocabularies in class because in the “Native Chinese speaking stream”, as a native Chinese should know those words readily. The teacher also uses local slang to heighten the learning of this particular group. Contrast between Putonghua and Cantonese phrases is one of the big topics in the “native Chinese speaking stream” but not in the “non-native Chinese speaking stream”. Student can ask the general office staff to have a look on the text books in making your decision.

4.   Native Chinese speaking stream equips native Chinese speaking to learn another Chinese dialect (Putonghua/ Cantonese) at quicker speed. Normally, a native Chinese speaker can master that within 200 study hours. However, for “non-native speaking stream”, at least 1200 hours are needed to somehow mastering the language.

5.   In a Putonghua class of “native Chinese speaking stream”, student composition is mainly Hong Kong working people and college graduates. Sometimes, a non-native Chinese speaker may find it not easy to adapt to the pace of learning.

 

 

10.

Q. Can I take Chinese Language open exams? Which one suits me?

 

A. For Cantonese courses, there are GCSE and COPA (Computerized Oral Proficiency Assessment).

 

There are more choices in Putonghua public exams.

 

Non-native Chinese speakers can take HSK or COPAComputerized Oral Proficiency Assessment.

 

There are 4 exams for native Chinese speakers which are recognized by the Continuing Education Fund (CEF). Students are eligible for course subsidy once passing one of the 4 exams. The most well known and the most difficult will be PSC (Putonghua test offered by the China State Commission) and the remaining 3 exams are offered by the Hong Kong Examination Authority namely Test of Proficiency in Putonghua (TPP), Test of Advanced Proficiency in Putonghua (TAPP) and Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination(HKCEE). Intermediate learners who could not study any further and want to attend an open exam, the TPP is relatively suitable.

 

Both native and non-native Chinese speakers and whether their subject studied is Putonghua or Cantonese can consider taking COPA. COPA aims at testing one’s speaking skill and communication. It is also one of the exit exam used for Advanced Putonghua courses for undergraduate students. Click here for more information.

 

Students will get more information during orientation and programme activities.

 


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