Chinese Program

NEWS

The UW-Madison Chinese Program joined both of the 2013 Wisconsin State Chinese Speech Contest and the 2013 Midwest Chinese Bridge Speech Contest. (The UW-Madison team, headed by Dr. Weihua Zhu, won in the state contest the first place in the category of heritage Chinese of college high level, the second place in the category of heritage Chinese of college lower level, and the second place in the category of non-heritage Chinese of College intermediate level and in the Midwest regional contest the first place and the third place of the heritage students category, and the third place of the second year students category.)

Prof. Rania Huntington has been awarded Scholar Grant from Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for time off for research in Spring 2013.  (Read more)

A new peer-reviewed international journal "International Journal of Chinese Linguistics" published by John Benjamins Publishing Company has its editorial office stationed at UW-Madison, and Prof. Hongming Zhang in EALL, Prof. Dylan Tsai (National Tsing Hua University) and Prof. Ning Yu (Pennsylvania State University) are co-editors.  (Read more)

Prof. Bei Yang has been named a MTLE fellow.  (Read more)

Owing to the support of Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters), Miss Mian Jiang, a new volunteer Chinese language teacher, will come to teach Elementary Chinese (I, II) and Conversation Chinese in Chinese Language Program during academic year 2013-2014, totally six sections. 

2013 UW-Tianjin Summer Program (May 24 - August 12) has altogether 40 participants with Prof. Hongming Zhang as the director and Miss Hai Liu and Mr. Xiang Lv as the PAs. 

 

 

 

Chinese Language Placement Test Information

Use the following FAQs to determine if you should consider taking the Chinese language placement test.

Q: Which track of Chinese should I be on?

Q: How can I determine which course to take in the fall?

Q: How many years of high school Chinese are equivalent to one year of Chinese at the UW-Madison?

Q: When and how can I take the placement test? What kind of test is it?

Q: What are the pros and cons of taking EA 101 versus EA 122 after studying some Chinese at a high school?

Q: What are retroactive credits and how can I receive them?

 

Q: Which track of Chinese should I be on?

The Chinese program has two tracks: the heritage Chinese track and the non-heritage Chinese track.

The heritage Chinese track is designed for heritage Chinese students who possess speaking/listening skills but little or no reading/writing skills in Chinese. These students include those who were born in a non-Chinese-speaking country, but were raised in a home where Mandarin or another Chinese dialect was spoken, and those who were born in a Chinese-speaking country but received zero or limited formal education in that country. Heritage Chinese courses (EA 113 and EA 114) introduce functional vocabulary, a systemic review of grammar, various cultural related topics and writing skills.

For other students, they should select the non-heritage Chinese track.

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Q: How can I determine which course to take in the fall?

For students who select the non-heritage Chinese track, please review the checklist below and conduct a self-evaluation of your own skills before contacting Mrs. Cynthia Koerber at ctkoerber@wisc.edu to schedule a placement test.

Language skills checklist

  • To enter EA 122

◦            Can you read and write Pinyin 拼音 and about 200 basic Chinese characters?

◦            Can you carry on a conversation about your daily life? (e.g., what time you get up, go to bed, and go to school, what you can and cannot do in class, weekend activities, hobbies, days & dates, self-introduction and introduction of family)

◦            Can you describe your town/room (where things are)?

◦            Can you make requests, invitations and apologies in various situations?

 

  • To enter EA 201

◦          Can you read and write Pinyin 拼音, and about 800 basic Chinese characters?

◦          In addition to what have been mentioned above for EA 122, you are required to be able to do these, shown as below:

◦         Can you compare and contrast things?

◦         Can you express gratitude, regret, disagreement, or else appropriately?

◦         Can you use the dynamic particle 了 in different situations correctly?

◦         Are you familiar with such grammar items as ba 把 construction and bei 被 construction?

◦         Can you conduct everyday conversations around these topics: dorm life, dining, shopping, apartment hunting, dating, sports, travel, holidays, family life or choosing a field of study?

If you think you should take EA 101 to review the materials from the beginning, you do not have to take the placement test. Just register for EA 101, selecting one of the discussion sections that you can attend Monday through Friday. In addition, you need to attend the lectures on Tuesday and Thursday.

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Q: How many years of high school Chinese are equivalent to one year of Chinese at the UW-Madison?

There is no simple answer to this question because each program has a different style and pace of instruction. It also depends on how much material each individual has absorbed from the instruction provided at a high school program. It is not rare for students who studied Chinese for a few years at a high school to take EA 122 Elementary Chinese, or even EA 101 First Semester Chinese, to solidify their foundations. This is partly because of the intensive nature of our first year curriculum, which meets 8 hours a week and covers 50% or 100% more materials than what is covered in the first year curriculum at college-level Chinese programs elsewhere, which usually meet 5 hours a week.

In many cases, the knowledge and skills a student has gained in a few years in a high school program are evaluated as less than one year of our curriculum. Some students may be assessed as having proficiency comparable to students taking Second Semester Chinese. Unfortunately, however, the Second Semester Chinese is offered only in the Spring Semester. While waiting until the spring semester for the Second Semester Chinese is an option for such a student, we think you may loose the proficiency that you gained during this time. Thus, we tend to recommend EA 122 or EA 101 for students who may be ready to take the Second Semester Chinese.

Every year, there are some students who are placed in Second Year Chinese or beyond. They tend to include those who have had experience living in China for an extended period of time along with the regular study of Chinese, or those who have taken college-level courses as a high school student.

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Q: When and how can I take the placement test? What kind of test is it?

You need to email Weihua Zhu at wzhu34@wisc.edu through your WiscMail account to register for the placement test and acquire more detailed information about the test. The placement test, which includes speaking, listening, grammar, reading, writing and dictation sections, takes about two hours. You can take the test in our computer lab in August, November, January, or April. Specific dates may vary according to the availability of the computer lab. Because this is a proficiency test, you do not have to do any special preparation. But the course information above should give you some idea as to what you should be able to perform to get into the course that you desire.

Important Note: The next placement test will be given in 250 Van Hise at 1pm on August 25, 2014. Please bring your student ID and a pen when you come to take the test.

 

Q: What are the pros and cons of taking EA 101 versus EA 122 after studying some Chinese at a high school?

As mentioned above, the majority of students who have a few years of high school Chinese will be recommended to take EA 122 or EA 101 in their first semester here.

Differences between the two courses include the followings:

  • EA 101 First Semester Chinese

◦            6 credit course that meets 8 hours a week (3 hours of lectures on TR, and 5 hours of discussions on MTWRF)

◦            Team-taught by a faculty member (lectures) and teaching assistants (discussions)

◦            Covers Lessons 1 through 10 of Integrated Chinese Level 1.

  • EA 122 Elementary Chinese

◦            3 credit course that meets 3 hours a week on MWF (successful completion of this course may provide you with 3 retroactive credits).

◦            Taught by a graduate teaching assistant

◦            Covers Lessons 6 through 10 of Integrated Chinese Level 1.

 

In the Spring Semester, students from both of these courses will get together in EA 102 Second Semester Chinese (6 credit course that meets 8 hours a week).

The benefits of taking EA 101 in the fall is that you can practice Chinese everyday and get used to the pace of 8 hours a week instruction. The information provided in lectures would solidify your knowledge of the language. Your past experience will help you feel comfortable in the course. But please keep in mind that you must establish good study habits during the first semester, or by the end of the semester, you may end up falling behind students who struggle at the beginning but nonetheless adapt to the pace of instruction. So, it is important to keep reminding yourself that you should approach the course with fresh attitude.

EA 122, on the other hand, meets only three hours a week. This means that you will have less time for in-class practice, but it might be easier to fit this course into your schedule. The elements of lectures and discussions in EA 101 are combined in one class period. In the Spring Semester, however, you will not have this option of 3-hour slow track course. So, at the beginning of the Spring Semester, you have to get used to a different structure and pace of the course. As mentioned earlier, in order to register for EA 122, you need to take the placement test.

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Q: What are retroactive credits and how can I receive them?

If you start taking EA 122 or higher, at the completion of the course, you may receive retroactive credits equivalent to the number of credits that can be earned in the courses that are prerequisites for the course you completed. For example, if you take EA 122 in the fall and complete it with B or higher, you may receive 3 retroactive credits for EA 121, which is the prerequisite for EA 122. If you take EA 201 in the fall and complete it with B or higher, you can receive 12 retroactive credits for EA 101 and 102 which are the prerequisites for EA 201. This is a general principle, and depending on the nature of programs where you studied Chinese, there might be some exceptions. Please refer to the following page for more information regarding retroactive credits: http://languageinstitute.wisc.edu/content/uw_students/retroactive_credit_policy.htm

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