Chinese new year dragon
Great Wall of China
Chinese traditional architecture

Why Study Chinese?

So that you can learn a language with tones and a non-alphabetic script, adopted by three neighboring cultures.  A language that uses the same pronoun for male and female referents, where verbs do not change form according to tense, and nouns remain the same whether singular or plural.

So that you can learn – along with Sasha Obama! – a language spoken by close to a billion speakers, the language of one of today’s biggest economies. The language of Confucius, of the people who built the Great Wall, of the land of the pandas.  The language of Sun Yat-sen, Mayling Soong, Mao Zedong; of Jackie Chan, Lang Lang, and Gong Li.

So that you can have access to an unbroken literary tradition of more than 3000 years:  Tang poetry, the Journey to the West, the Dream of the Red Chamber, Madam White Snake, the Butterfly Lovers.  And learn about the exploits of Genghis Khan and his descendants in East Asia; about movies by Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee and other directors; about the Cultural Revolution, ‘model plays’, martial arts films and novels; about the spelling system called pinyin, about traditional and simplified characters, and the distinction between ‘language’ and ‘dialect’.

So that you can learn something special – learn Chinese, and learn about Chinese culture!

Enrich your experiences with a semester abroad, and further explore the history, politics, economics, and art of China and the rest of East Asia through courses in the East Asian Studies program.