A Note on Characters
We teach both traditional and simplified Chinese characters,
starting with traditional characters in the summer term, then introducing
simplified in the fall. By the end of the fall, students are
expected to be able to read both. Spring FALCON in Beijing
emphasizes simplified characters, but students may continue to write in
traditional characters if they prefer.
A large number of the characters are
the same in both traditional and simplified forms, and those that do differ are only in systematic, easily recognizable ways.
We provide a module that helps students
make the transition to simplified characters.
Learning traditional characters before learning simplified is helpful for our students. First of all, it's much easier
to learn traditional characters first than to learn the two systems in the opposite order. Secondly, while many of our
students go on to work where
simplified characters are standard, we also have students who have gone on
to careers in Taiwan or Hong Kong where traditional characters
are still the norm.
Mandarin Chinese Curriculum
Over the past thirty years, FALCON has created a curriculum that develops students' ability to engage in culturally
appropriate verbal interaction and the ability to read with accuracy.
Students work on all four language skills: speaking, listening,
reading, and writing. The
full-year program in Chinese consists of an introductory level in the
summer, intermediate level in the fall, and advanced level in the
spring. Students need not enroll in the entire full-year program to
participate in FALCON.
The program consists of four hours of
daily instruction: four separate meetings of small,
interactive classes conducted entirely in Chinese by native speakers.
is spoken in oral drill sessions, while English is used to
explain grammatical points and to gloss Chinese words in order to
assure that the student fully comprehends the new material.
There is individual attention as there are no more than eight students per section.
You'll receive continuous feedback on pronunciation and grammar, and
extra assistance when learning difficulties arise.
FALCON uses a variety of materials, many of them written specifically
for this program. The introductory course makes extensive use of
in-house materials, including grammatical notes and exercises,
dialogs for conversation practice, character tutorials, reading
materials, and interactive online materials.
As students advance, the
selection broadens to include films, newspaper primers, and selections of short fiction and articles from periodicals.
Traditional characters are taught first; then simplified
characters. By the end of the program,
students should be able to read both. Students also have access to
University resources: libraries, museums, and films related to their
own particular interests in Chinese.
Once FALCON students have finished the summer and fall terms
at Cornell, they have the language skills necessary to benefit from total immersion. Full-year students spend
their spring semester in Beijing, where
they continue to improve their skills and put them to effective use in daily
Introductory Summer Level: Chinese 1160 (8 credits)
Intermediate Summer Level: Chinese 2201/2202 (8 credits)
Intermediate Level in the Fall: Chinese 2260 (16 credits)
Advanced Level in the Spring (in Beijing): Chinese 3360 (16 credits)