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Intermediate Chinese Grammar online edX course


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I'm barely keeping up with the course. Does the prof's textbook ISBN 9787301129142 have English in it? Is it any good?


I'm finding the Claudia Ross Modern Chinese Grammar book and Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook ISBN 978-0415486316 not helpful.


I think my problem is my overall Chinese level is a little low, besides specfically my grammar level being pretty bad (I know I suck until further notice).


People here post that the explanations by the prof are good but I don't find her very good at all. It's probably just my learning style. But I can't stand her voice or Beijing accent. AR AR AR. But trying to learn and trying the exercises has helped my Chinese...AR!.


For people that post their final marks, that's nice now piss off and post your status markers on Instagram with the rest of that bunch. No one cares what your final mark is when you go to China and speak Chinese.

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The textbook is all in Chinese, and follows the course fairly closely. So if the style of the course doesn't suit you, the textbook probably isn't worth getting. For grammar, do you know the Chinese Grammar Wiki? http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/ Worth bookmarking. And as it's not a course, it's easier to meander through, picking up on specific issues, which I find is useful.


You are right—marks don't matter in the end. But it's kind of interesting (for some of us, at least...) to know how other people are getting on.

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You can have English subtitles, I discovered this at about week 3.

This is what I posted then.


I am using chrome to view the videos and I worked out today CC meant subtitles so I turned on the subtitles and thought oh that's helpful, then accidentally clicked over the the subtitles with the right button on my mouse and a menu popped up and one of the choices was Translate this to English, so always keen for help I clicked and it all changed to English. it is not the best translation but it is a big help if your Chinese is not good enough to keep up with it.


Not sure about why people posting their final mark is a problem, its nice to know what people are achieving and where you fit into it.

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myriadthings - I saw the grammar wiki things posted previously but thanks for reposting, it looks useful. I've ordered the textbook, if it follows the course I hope it has more examples to learn from


Shelley - the right click you are talking about is using Google Translate. Not a bad idea to try, thanks

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I have been keeping up with the course. So far on week 4. As for my level, I consider myself upper-beginner / lower-intermediate. You'll need to read characters in order to get through this course.


In week 1 they introduced the basic structure of a chinese sentence: S + time + location + how + V + O. So far, each week they are looking at a different part of the sentence. Week 2 was on time expressions, Week 3 on location expressions, and week 4 is on V-O compounds.


The teacher has an excellent ability to explain things clearly, and in simple terms, which is very helpful since the course is taught in Mandarin. If you watch the videos on edX.org, all the text is displayed in a column to the right of the video, which scrolls down as you proceed through the video. This is very helpful because you can scroll through the text, and click on each sentence to jump to that part of the video.


 I printed out the list of grammar terms from week 1 as they are mentioned frequently in the lectures. I constantly refer to these during the lectures until I've heard a term enough to remember it. I generally watch the whole video once, trying to absorb as much as possible. Then I jump to key points in the video (usually where rules/summaries are displayed), and write down notes in English/Pinyin/Characters. There's usually 1-2 hours of video lectures each week.


The weekly quizzes, usually consisting of adding/deleting/rearranging characters in a sentence, or translation,  are quite doable if you understood the lectures. Sometimes it's a challenge to get it exactly right if you miss out a basic grammar point that is assumed knowledge, or happen to use slightly different vocab. However, if you do get it wrong, you have 5 total chances to try again. Best thing is to do the quiz as early as possible, and if there's something you can't figure out, you can post your answer in the discussion section, and a staff member will either give you a clue, or add your answer to the correct list if it is indeed correct.


There is also a (unmarked) written paragraph assignment each week. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a staff member responded to my entry with specific feedback on any grammar mistakes, and general comments. In addition, if you have any related grammar questions, you can post your question, and a staff member will apply. I guess there is a small enough ratio of staff to student members that makes such personal attention possible. This is the only MOOC course I've taken where you get personal feedback.


In terms of grammar references, I haven't easily found references for some of the points in the AllSet Learnign Grammar Wiki, Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar, or Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar. But it could be that I'm just not looking up the right terms in the index. I've ordered the companion book, but by the time it arrives, I'll probably be halfway through the course. That being said, I've found that the lecture explanations are excellent, and haven't really needed additional references. Make sure to order it a couple months ahead of the course start if you are outside China and want it in time for the course.


If you get a tutor to help you with this course, make sure that they have a good grasp of grammar terms so that you two can speak the same language. Most native speakers I mentioned the terms to did not know them (just like most native English speakers will not know what an instransitive verb or reflexive pronoun is).


Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the course so far and I am learning a lot. It's helping me to take my Mandarin from "understandable, but sounds funny" to "correct".

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Week 4: Separable (V-O) Words (离合次).


The grammar book for this course arrived this week. For week 4, the grammar book only seems to cover 2 of the 4 lectures. So far, I enjoy learning grammar from watching the videos more than reading the textbook, mainly because I currently have a higher listening level than I do reading (and the textbook is all in Chinese)


I found some very useful supplemental information on 离合次 on the AllSet Chinese Grammar Wiki:





Looks like it's quite useful to memorize which verbs are 离合次 verbs to make it easier to know when to apply their rules.

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  • 2 weeks later...



You asked about how teachers of elementary-intermediate levels adapt to their students.  Well, I did Chinese in Taiwan for year two (after an about 180 hour contact time course in the UK) and, yes, I found that I could understand the teacher just fine.  I guess that's one of the things they learn to a fine art - how to communicate at all levels of ability.  Impressive!  


Some friends have done beginners' level classes, so I must see what their experience was in this regard.

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I found the examples on ths page quite useful to clarify a number of the week 5/6 result complements:




(It's also quite fun to hear all the sample sentences spoken simultaneously when you load that page)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just bought her book 中級漢語語法講義. Got a friend to buy it while in China. It seems very much the same as the EdX course. It has the same content, even the same examples. By reading it while doing the EdX course I'm finding it really helps solidify the lessons.


The book itself is all in Chinese, but it's still the very simple and clear language that 徐 uses in her videos. And I think it only cost about $5. Definitely worth it.


I saw  in the 前言: "我殷切地期望使用本書的【學生】。。。能夠感覺到漢語語法並不太難,語法並不枯燥,探索語言的結構奧妙無窮!". This is probably the best way to describe how I feel about this book and course. I went from not being particularly interested in it to really enjoying it.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 months later...



For Grammar, I found Using Chinese: A Guide to Contemporary Usage. It covers a lot of concepts you don't find in a typical grammar book (computer words, onomatopoeia, humor, homophones, chengyu and idioms, classic quotes, riddles, tongue twisters, useful vocab by topic, as well as a well-arranged grammar section).

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Great ideas.


I am going to try this open lecture series from NCTU (Taiwan):

Title: 中文口語語法與教學


It looks to cover a similar set of grammar points. The lectures are delivered in plain-spoken Mandarin. No subtitles.


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