Learning Chinese opens up a unique window into one of the world’s richest and most ancient civilizations. As soon as you begin studying the Chinese language, you will learn about Chinese history, cultural values, philosophical and religious beliefs, and aesthetic traditions as well.

Chinese art

The Chinese program at Lafayette is special in so many ways! Personalized to your individual learning style, we have a native Chinese Fulbright TA who does a one-on-one weekly tutorial with you; we have a Chinese-American online intercultural exchange program through which you are connected with a group of peer college students in China; we turn Chinese songs, movies, and YouTube videos into level-appropriate lab assignments to supplement classroom instruction; we invite international Chinese students on campus to be your private tutors; we immerse you in Chinese culture with rich cultural events (e.g. Chinese New Year Party, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dumpling Party, Chinese Calligraphy contests, Chinese Paper-cutting workshop, field trips to local Chinese restaurants, Chinese movie nights, you name it, and the list goes on and on. We strive to build a strong learning community, and students who have taken Chinese at Lafayette have expressed a strong sense of belonging. The Chinese language program warmly welcomes you to join our community, to learn and to enjoy the Chinese language and culture!

A Self-Designed Major in Chinese

My name is Joshua Levy (雷佳华) and I will be graduating in the year 2021. I am an International Affairs and “Chinese Language and Culture” double major. I combined my learning of Chinese with psychology courses to, on tJoshua op of my Chinese knowledge, further understand how people communicate across cultures, as well as understand how becoming bilingual affects my brain. Originally from New York, I moved to Hong Kong when I was ten and my parents still live there today. There, I took Chinese in school and even had an opportunity to do an internship with the Yao Ming Foundation in Shanghai, China, which was almost entirely in Mandarin. I love learning Chinese because I believe meeting and conversing with new people is one of the best experiences in life, and I have met so many new people through my Chinese. It will no doubt help me be unique in future job applications as well.

Requirements for the Minor in Chinese

Comprised of five courses (or fewer, if students obtain advanced placement) beyond Elementary Chinese (101-102). Following successful completion of Advanced Chinese 212, minors are required to take at least one 300-level course in Chinese or, in consultation with a faculty adviser in Chinese, another subject with a significant Chinese-language component. At least three Chinese courses must be completed on Lafayette College’s home campus in order to obtain the minor.

The Major & Minor in Asian Studies

For information, please visit the Asian Studies website or the Course Catalog.

Courses in Chinese

The Chinese language program at Lafayette offers five-year Chinese language instruction with a Chinese minor. The Chinese language classes at Lafayette, focusing on developing students’ communicative and intercultural competence, are fun and rewarding.

CHN 101: Elementary Chinese I

This course aims to develop fundamental listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities in Mandarin Chinese. Students examine approximately 250 new words and more than 30 grammar patterns. Mastery of Pinyin pronunciation is an essential part, and students are trained with computer-based exercises, especially character typing. Class activities may also include practicing calligraphy, singing songs in Chinese, making dumplings, and watching film shows to enhance students’ understanding of Chinese language and culture.

CHN 102: Elementary Chinese II

This course will help students continue to develop fundamental skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing of Mandarin Chinese based on 101 class training or equivalent. Students will learn 200 new words and more than 30 new grammar patterns. Mastery of Pinyin pronunciation is still an essential part, and students are to be trained with more frequent computer-based exercises. Class activities also include calligraphy competitions and Chinese movie shows to enhance students’ understanding of Chinese language and culture.
Prerequisite: Chinese 101 or equivalent

CHN 111, 112: Intermediate Chinese I & II

Review and expansion of basic grammar and vocabulary and continued development of familiarity with Chinese characters are stressed in this course. Attention is given to developing reading and conversational skills for a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures of the Chinese people.
Prerequisite: Chinese 101, 102 or equivalent proficiency

CHN 211: Advanced Chinese I

Through a diversity of authentic materials on various topics, students will expand their skills in under

standing and using modern Chinese in a broad variety of cultural contexts. The course is open to students who have successfully completed four semesters of Mandarin at Lafayette or who can demonstrate equivalent proficiency. Students will receive advanced training in four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
Prerequisite: Chinese 112 or equivalent proficiency

CHN 212: Advanced Chinese II

Through a diversity of materials on various topics, students will concentrate on greatly expanding their skills in understanding and using modern Chinese in a broad variety of cultural contexts. The course is open to students who have successfully completed five semesters of Mandarin at Lafayette or who can demonstrate equivalent proficiency. As a continuation of Chinese 211 or its equivalent, students in Chinese 212 will receive advanced training in four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
Prerequisite: Chinese 211 or equivalent proficiency

CHN 231: Chinese Civilization

This course presents the fundamental features and highlights of Chinese civilization from the Neolithic age down to the twentieth century. It explores the origin, transformation, and continuity of this long-standing culture, discussing varied aspects in philosophy, religion, political institutions, and literature and arts. Students also explore certain areas of Chinese culture that are becoming transnational interests, such as Buddhist practice, geomancy, and medical tradition. No prior knowledge of China or the Chinese language is required. All works are read in English translations.

CHN 290, 291: Independent Study

These courses are intended to expand the student’s basic capabilities in the four linguistic skills-listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Enrichment of written grammar review with emphasis on the expansion of vocabulary and stylistics will be stressed, as will be the examination of cultural and contemporary issues through use of texts, films, television, music, and the internet.
Prerequisite: Chinese 112 or equivalent

CHN 311: Contemporary China I

Through a diversity of authentic materials in various media such as newspapers and periodicals, this course greatly expands students’ Mandarin proficiency in all four skills while deepening their understanding of the social and cultural issues facing China today. Students’ language skills will be enhanced through intensive reading, discussion, presentation, debate, and essay writing. The course is open to students who have successfully completed six semesters of Mandarin at Lafayette or who can demonstrate equivalent proficiency.
Prerequisite: Chinese 212 or equivalent

CHN 312:

Through a delivery of authentic materials in various media such as newspapers and periodicals, this course greatly expands students’ Mandarin proficiency in all four skills while deepening their understanding of the social and cultural issues facing China today. Students’ language skills will be enhanced through intensive reading, discussion, presentation, debate, and essay writing. The course is open to students who have successfully completed six semesters of Mandarin Lafayette or who can demonstrate equivalent proficiency. 

Prerequisite: Chinese 212 or equivalent

CHN 411: Chinese Culture and Society l

Through a variety of carefully selected readings as well as media resources such as films, TV shows, and news, this course helps students gain an in-depth, multi-faceted and critical understanding of Chinese people, culture and society. Meanwhile, students continue developing Mandarin proficiency in all four skills with special attention given to the acquisition of formal or written language and the development of analytical and critical thinking skills. The course is instructed in Mandarin Chinese. [W]

CHN 412: Chinese Culture and Society ll

Through a variety of carefully selected readings as well as media resources such as films, TV shows, and news, this course helps students gain an in-depth, multi-faceted and critical understanding of Chinese people, culture and society. Meanwhile, students continue developing Mandarin communicative abilities in all three modes (i.e., interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational) with special attention given to the acquisition of formal written language and the development of analytical and critical thinking skills. The course is instructed in Mandarin Chinese. [W]

CHN 311 or CHN 312 or instructor permission

FYS 196 Exploring Chinese Culture

What does it mean to be Chinese? What are some central aspects of Chinese culture? How do the traditional values and beliefs continue to shape contemporary China? Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and cultural events, this seminar will provide the students with a grasp of significant cultural achievements in China and the critical vocabulary that is essential to discuss and analyze Chinese culture and related issues in an intelligent and informed manner.

FYS Course Catalogue description

 Want to learn more about the Chinese program?

Follow this link to see samples of student work, faculty research, and campus events.

Please see the Lafayette Course Catalog for a complete listing and the official descriptions of Chinese courses and other subjects offered by the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures.

Please see the Course and Exam Schedule for a current list of courses and times, including special-topics courses not listed in the permanent Course Catalog.