Learn the most spoken language in the world with FutureLearn and Shanghai International Studies University

The second of three Chinese courses created by Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) is to launch on FutureLearn today: Introduction to Chinese: Conversation will be the second installment in a series that has already introduced learners to the pronunciation, tone, dialogue and grammar of the most spoken language in the world.

It is thought that there are almost 1.2 billion native speakers of Chinese — roughly a billion of whom speak Mandarin — and now learners on FutureLearn can learn the language spoken by one in six people in the world.

Over six weeks, new course Introduction to Chinese: Conversation introduces learners to greetings and introductions as well as basic tasks like asking for directions and having meals. The course will also help learners build their knowledge of traditional and popular Chinese culture and by the course’s end learners will have learnt approximately 150 new words that will help with more advanced Chinese language courses in future.

The course follows: Introduction to Chinese: Pronunciation and Tone, available to start now, which covers the key elements of Chinese phonetics: initials, finals and tones. The course also covers the core rules of spelling and tone marking, differentiation of similar sounds, simple daily language skills such as greetings, self-introduction, expressing thanks, love and apology.

Chinese Grammar, introducing us to the basics of Chinese grammar, will launch later this year.

Learners on all three courses will be guided through the principles of Chinese from educators with over forty years combined experience and by the end of the series will have a broad overview of the spoken and grammatical components of Chinese.

Designed for learners from across the globe, the course series is delivered in English and in the form of a dialogue. Learners can watch the teachers interacting with actual international students from SISU.

Aiming to provide those who are interested in China with an opportunity to learn more about its language and culture, the series is moderate in difficulty, made up of words and grammatical elements at HSK 1 and 2 levels in the scaling of Chinese Proficiency Tests.

Nigel Smith, MD of Courses and Learning at FutureLearn, said: “FutureLearn’s mission is to transform access to education and we’re proud that we have learners in every country in the world globally. As such we strive to ensure the platform reflects the diverse experience of our learners and are delighted to be partnering with Shanghai International Studies University to offer a comprehensive introduction to Chinese and the most widely spoken language in the world.”  

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About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform formed in December 2012 by The Open

University and is now jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group. FutureLearn has over nine million people signed up worldwide. FutureLearn uses design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible online courses as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that improve working lives. It partners with over a quarter of the world’s top universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE). It’s also involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.

About SISU

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) is an internationally recognised, prestigious academic institution distinctive for its multidisciplinary and multicultural nature, committed to preparing innovative professionals and future global leaders for a wide range of international expertise to address the critical challenges of our times.

We have now established partnerships with more than 400 universities and institutions from 60 countries and regions, and have maintained close connection with international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union.

We have also compiled and published a series of Mandarin Chinese textbooks to be used by non-Chinese speakers as a means of further promoting cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world. Over the past five years, around 4,000 international students have been enrolled each year in our Chinese language programs or other degree schemes and 9 Confucius Institutes have been established in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.