Language Center

Tilburg University is an internationally oriented research and education institute. The Language Center assists students, university staff, and non-university students in improving their language proficiency.

Chinese for Visitors

Chinese is a rich and fascinating language. China by itself has a population of 1.35 billion people which makes Chinese the most spoken language in the world. Thanks to China’s economic emergence, the language is becoming more and more significant on an international level. China dominates the Asian economy and knowledge of Chinese is invaluable when doing business with countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

It may seem difficult to learn Chinese but it is actually quite a simple language to learn. Mandarin Chinese has no conjugations, inflections, articles or tenses. However, the language has its own system of writing which is virtually unknown to the average Westerner. There is often no other basis from any other language you may have learned previously. And then there are also the four pitches or tones in spoken language that can give syllables a different meaning every time they are used. Don’t let this discourage you from the challenge, though, learning Chinese can seriously boost your career opportunities.

The Language Center offers you two courses in Chinese: ‘Chinese for Beginners 1’ and ‘Chinese for Beginners 2’. These courses are a continuation of each other: once you have completed course 1, you can advance to course 2. If you suspect you could possibly start in course 2 directly because you have had a previous course in Chinese, please contact coordinator Cristina Irún for an appointment. Together you will assess your current level and which course is best suited for you.  

Chinese for Beginners 1

13x 3-hour classes, 8 hours self-study per week, 6 ECTS

This course teaches you the basics of Mandarin Chinese. You will be introduced to Chinese pronunciation, the Pinyan writing system, or Chinese in Latin script, and the script of Chinese characters. Using both group and individual exercises, this course is aimed at daily life, such as family, food and drink, the weather, numbers and time. One exercise includes going to a Chinese restaurant with other students and ordering Chinese dishes and drinks in Chinese.

Chinese culture is integrated in these daily topics. At the end of the course, a cultural training is provided called ‘chopsticks’ or ‘cultural awareness’.

After completing the course, you will know approx. 200 words in Pinyin, and be able to understand many common expressions and recognize approx. 150 words in Chinese characters. You will have reached the A1 level of the Common European Reference Framework and Level 1 of the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK).

Chinese for Beginners 2

13x 3-hour classes, 8 hours self-study per week, 6 ECTS

This course is a continuation of the Chinese for Beginners 1. Some examples of what you will learn in this course are how to share your experiences in Chinese and how to ask for directions. You will also write simple texts in Chinese characters.

The course is aimed at eleven language functions, such as providing short descriptions, asking and answering simple questions and providing explanations. Cultural topics are also discussed based on characters in the HSK-list.

You will be able to use approx. 300 words in Pinyan and write the 100 most used characters of these words. Various exercises will help you read and understand simple texts in Chinese characters. You will have acquired level A2.1 of the Common European Reference Framework and Level 2 of the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK).