Comprehensible narratives and connected grammar
Textbook design for classical Chinese as a foreign language
Classical Chinese is an integral component of the Chinese language curriculum at many American universities. However, which texts should be taught and how their grammar should be introduced in a textbook, are questions that have seldom been discussed. This article focuses on the selection of original texts and the mode of grammar explanation in an introductory-level textbook for undergraduate students who study Chinese as a second language. In the United States, more and more students study Classical Chinese for Mandarin-proficiency improvement and Chinese cultural perceptions. Responding to the trend, I argue that narrative texts and comparative grammar explanation would not only render a textbook more comprehensible and engaging, but also advance the learner’s practice of Classical Chinese knowledge in Modern Chinese production. This new design thus effectively connects Classical and Modern Chinese in both “content” and “form,” providing a new perspective to the curriculum development of overseas Chinese programs.
Keywords: second language acquisition, Classical Chinese, Modern Chinese, textbook design, Chinese Language Pedagogy
Published online: 11 August 2021
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