Chinese language course option returns to Eastern

Starting fall quarter of 2014, EWU’s modern language program will offer the sequence classes Chinese 101-103.

Course instructor Chiu-Hsin Lin said the classes will focus on speaking and listening to Chinese.

Photo by Sam Sargent
Photo by Sam Sargent

“I would like to focus on communication, where the students can have small talk. So, that’s the goal for Chinese 101. And of course they will learn reading and writing,” Lin said

In Chinese 101, Lin said students will learn to speak about basic topics, like themselves, family, meeting with friends and different hobbies. Lin said the courses will also consist of Chinese-speaking presenters, as well as a history lesson in Chinese characters.

“A lot of people want to learn Chinese because of the Chinese characters. Each character has a story. For example, the sun and the moon,” Lin said.

This set of sequence classes was offered seven years ago in 2008, but was cut after the budget was reduced, according to Florian Preisig, EWU’s Modern Languages and Literatures department chair. Today, the class is still unable to be financially funded by the administration.

“The money used to fund this class is entirely out of pocket,” said Preisig.

He said the modern language department has done a great job to fundraise the money. Also, he promises students who sign up for Chinese 101 will be able to finish the entire sequence to Chinese 103.

Department of modern languages and literatures English language institute director Neil Heyen said he took the course when it was offered seven years ago. His favorite part of the class was learning about the culture and listening to the Chinese musicians Lin would invite to class.

“China has one of the oldest cultures in the world, so certainly its people are very interesting,” said Heyen.

Heyen also encourages students to take the course because of China’s growing global power.

“If you think globally, China is becoming one of the most important countries in the world, in terms of business and other things. From that perspective, it’s an important language for America,” said Heyen.

Lin, who lived in Taiwan for some time, agrees learning Chinese will only help students in the future.

“China is getting power economically and regionally. Eventually, we will have more contact [with China],” said Lin.

Lin’s objective now is to help rebuild the Chinese language program and build a community.

“[The class] is a great opportunity for those students to learn Chinese,” Lin said. “Right now Eastern only offers Japanese as the only Asian language. I think by adding Chinese, it’s adding diversity.”

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