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Heritage Languages at the University of California

The University of California features one of the highest ratios of HL speakers and learners due mainly to the large population of Hispanics and Asians, but also to groups of students from regions like Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The presence of large groups of heritage speakers means that demands for heritage language classes are high. This is the case even with campuses that have a relatively small number of students. There is no pedagogical dispute as to whether or not heritage tracks should be offered; the only problem is how to do it efficiently, considering the fiscal and professional resources that vary from campus to campus.

In general, the languages that have the most heritage students are Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Please see the links to this posting for a description of specific HL programs at UC campuses.

Chinese Language Programs in the UC System

In the case of Chinese, if a heritage class is offered, it is usually offered at the lower levels, typically elementary and intermediate. Some campuses offer heritage tracks up to third year level (e.g., UC Berkeley), but this is rare.

Heritage classes in Chinese usually focus on reading and writing, and most importantly orthography (Chinese character) learning and vocabulary building.

Another typical kind of heritage class is Mandarin for speakers of other Chinese dialects, especially Cantonese. These classes are for students who have not mastered the Mandarin pronunciation but who have a fairly good background in reading and writing Chinese.

Below are described several Chinese programs in the UC system: two from large campuses, UC Berkeley and UCLA, and two from relatively smaller campuses, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara.

Note: 1) The information presented below is obtained mostly from online catalogues as of May 2004; we edited the text for stylistic uniformity. 2) Heritage classes are in bold. Non-heritage classes are also listed, for comparison purposes.

UC Berkeley

  • 1A-1B. Elementary Chinese (5; 5). Five hours per week. Prerequisites: A is prerequisite to B.
  • 1AX-1BX. Elementary Chinese for Mandarin Speakers (3; 3). Students will receive no credit for 1AX-1BX after passing 1, 1A-1B, or 5. Three hours per week. Prerequisites: Chinese 1AX is prerequisite to 1BX; consent of instructor. Elementary Chinese for students who speak Mandarin but who have minimal exposure to reading or writing.
  • 1AY-1BY. Elementary Chinese for Speakers of Other Dialects (4; 4). Students will receive no credit for 1AY after taking 1, 1A-1B, 1AX-1BX or 5. Four hours per week. Prerequisites: 1AY is prerequisite to 1BY. This course is designed for students who have elementary listening and speaking skills in a Chinese dialect other than Mandarin, the Standard Modern Chinese, and minimal exposure to reading and/or writing in Chinese. With training in all four languages skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), prominence is given to listening and speaking in Mandarin Chinese. This first year course prepares students to enter the Mandarin speaking track for intermediate language training.
  • 10A-10B. Intermediate Chinese (5; 5). Five hours per week. Prerequisites: 1B; 10A is prerequisite to 10B.
  • 10AX-10BX. Intermediate Chinese for Mandarin Speakers (3; 3). Students will receive no credit for 10AX-10BX after passing 10 or 10A-10B. Three hours per week. Prerequisites: Chinese 1BX; 10AX is prerequisite to 10BX; consent of instructor. Intermediate Chinese for students who speak Mandarin and have elementary-level knowledge of reading and writing in Chinese.
  • 100A-100B. Advanced Chinese (5; 5). Five hours per week. Prerequisites: 10B; 100A is prerequisite to 100B. Reading and discussion in Chinese, of modern Chinese texts, literary, political and general, in a variety of styles. Assignments aim to develop oral and writing skills.
  • 100AX-100BX. Advanced Chinese for Mandarin Speakers (3; 3). Students will receive no credit in 100AX-100BX after passing 100, 100A-100B, or 110AB. Three hours per week. Prerequisites: Chinese 10BX; 100AX is prerequisite to C100BX; consent of instructor. Advanced Chinese for students who speak Mandarin and have intermediate-level knowledge of reading and writing in Chinese. The goal of this course is to introduce modern Chinese society through reading materials and discussion. The reading materials include stories, essays, and plays, mostly by leading writers of recent decades.

UCLA

  • 1-2-3. Elementary Modern Chinese (5). Lecture, two hours; discussion, three hours. Not open to students who have learned, from whatever source, enough Chinese to qualify for more advanced courses. Introduction to fundamentals of standard Chinese, including pronunciation, grammar, and Chinese characters, with emphasis on all four language skills -- listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • 1A-2A-3A. Elementary Modern Chinese for Advanced Beginners (5). Lecture, two hours; discussion, three hours. Recommended background: ability to understand and speak Mandarin or other Chinese dialects at elementary levels. Not open to students who have learned, from whatever source, enough Chinese to qualify for more advanced courses. Designed for students who have elementary listening and speaking skills in Mandarin or other Chinese dialects. Training in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
  • 4-5-6. Intermediate Modern Chinese (5). Five hours per week. Enforced requisite: course 3 or Chinese placement test. Not open to students who have learned, from whatever source, enough Chinese to qualify for more advanced courses. Designed to strengthen communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Grammar reviews, knowledge of idiomatic expressions, and both traditional and simplified characters.
  • 4A-5A-6A. Intermediate Modern Chinese for Advanced Students (5). Five hours per week. Enforced requisite: course 3A or Chinese placement test. Not open to students who have learned, from whatever source, enough Chinese to qualify for more advanced courses. Designed for students who have intermediate listening and speaking skills in Mandarin or other Chinese dialects. Training in all language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
  • 5C-6C. Mandarin for Cantonese Speakers (5). (Formerly numbered 4C.) Four hours per week. Enforced requisite: Chinese placement test. Designed for students who are Cantonese speakers and familiar with Chinese characters and who need to improve their pronunciation of the standard Mandarin dialect.

UC Santa Barbara

  • 1-2-3. Elementary Modern Chinese (5). Beginning course in Chinese. Students acquire a basic knowledge of contemporary grammar, a limited general vocabulary, correct pronunciation, and an ability to read and understand simple texts. Weekly laboratory assignments support and enhance classroom learning.
  • 1N-2N-3N. Elementary Chinese for Native Speakers (3). Consent of instructor. This course is intended for native Mandarin speakers who wish to learn to read and write Chinese. The content is similar to Chinese 1-2-3, with less emphasis on developing oral skills.
  • 4-5-6. Intermediate Modern Chinese (5). Recommended background: Chinese 3. Continuation of Chinese 1-2-3.
  • 4N-5N-6N. Second Year Chinese Heritage (3). Consent of instructor. Intended for Chinese heritage students who wish to continue to learn how to read and write in Chinese. The content is similar to Chinese 4-5-6, with less emphasis on developing oral skills.

UC San Diego

  • CHIN 11-12-13. First-Year Chinese (5-5-5)
  • CHIN 21-22-23. Second-Year Chinese (4-4-4)
  • CHIN 111-112-113. Third-Year Chinese (4-4-4)
  • CHIN 121-122-123. Fourth-Year Chinese (4-4-4)

Chinese language classes are divided into A, B and C tracks. Track A is for students with no Chinese language background, Track B classes are for students with some Chinese language background, and finally, Track C is for students with Chinese language backgrounds other than Mandarin.

Submitted by Hongyin Tao, Dept. of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA

Language Resource Center