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CHIN 442 A: The Chinese Language

MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm / CDH 110B
F 1:30pm - 2:20pm / MGH 253
Joint Sections: 
CHIN 342 A
Zev Handel

Syllabus Description:

You can find all course materials through the Modules page.

Welcome to CHIN 342/442, "The Chinese Language", an Introduction to Chinese Linguistics.

This course is a wide-ranging introduction to Chinese as an object of linguistic analysis. Topics include the structure of Standard Mandarin, features of the Chinese “dialects”, characteristics of ancient Chinese, the history and development of the writing system, and the relationship of Chinese language to Chinese culture. As a foundation for exploring these topics, students will be introduced to basic linguistic theory and terminology. Students must have completed, or be concurrently enrolled in, second-year Chinese, or have equivalent knowledge of Mandarin. This is not a language skills course: you will not be tested on your language ability. No prior knowledge of linguistics is required or expected.


Mon, Wed 1:30–3:20 in CDH 110B (Chinese 442 students also meet F 1:30-2:20 in MGH 253)


Zev Handel |  |  Gowen Hall 245 |  206-543-4863

Office hours:  

Wednesdays 3:30–4:20, Fridays 2:30–3:20, or by appointment


Chinese 342/442 Course Packet (purchase at EZ Copy N Print, 4336 University Way (206-632-2523) for $16.99 plus tax = $ 18.71). You will need your own copy of the course packet in class every day.
A number of other readings are available in pdf format here on Canvas, most excerpted from
            • Chinese by Jerry Norman. 1988. Cambridge University Press.
            • The Languages of China by S. Robert Ramsey. 1987. Princeton University Press.
(Both books are on reserve at the East Asian Library in Gowen Hall (3rd floor) and at Odegaard.)


Grades will be based on the following requirements. See grading scale on the course website.
• Participation                          5%
• Reading Responses              5%
• Homework                             25%
• Midterm                                 20%
• Project and presentation       20%
• Final examination                  25%


Assigned reading must be completed before class. All readings are accessible through the Readings Module. For some readings you will be required to submit reading responses on Canvas before class. It is your responsibility to finish the online reading responses and submit them on time. 


Several homework exercises will be assigned during the quarter to help you learn the course material. Each homework exercise will be available from Canvas approximately one week before the due date, and should be submitted in class as paper assignment at the beginning of class on the due date.


This is a group project. Your group will carry out a fieldwork assignment on a non-Mandarin Chinese dialect by recording and analyzing the speech of a native speaker. You will present some of your findings in class, and submit a recording and a written report.


One-hour midterm exam, two-hour final exam. You are responsible for the contents of all lectures and assigned readings. There will be no make-up exams (unless by prior arrangement).

Late Policy:   

Assignments that are up to one class meeting late will lose 10% credit, and up to two meetings late 20% credit. Late assignments will not be accepted after two class meetings without special approval from the instructor. If you know you will miss class, talk to the instructor in advance.


hone ringers should be off during class to avoid disruption. Please do not use phones (texting, apps, internet, etc.) during class, as it is a distraction to others.

Important: You cannot survive this course without a solid familiarity with pīnyīn. If you do not know pīnyīn, please speak to me. The course packet contains an appendix on pīnyīn spelling rules. There is also information on the course web site (under “Modules > Resources”) that will help you learn and/or review pīnyīn.

Additional Information for all UW students and courses


Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at:

Disability Resources

If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Student Conduct

The University takes academic integrity very seriously, as do I. Behaving with integrity is part of our responsibility to our shared learning community. If you’re uncertain about whether something is academic misconduct, don’t hesitate to ask me.

Acts of academic misconduct may include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating (working collaboratively on quizzes/exams and discussion submissions, sharing answers and previewing quizzes/exams)
  • Plagiarism (representing the work of others as your own without giving appropriate credit to the original author(s)–for more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, see
  • Unauthorized collaboration (working with each other on assignments)

Concerns about these or other behaviors prohibited by the Student Conduct Code will be referred for investigation and adjudication by the College of Arts & Sciences.

Students found to have engaged in academic misconduct may receive a zero on the assignment (or other possible outcome).

For more information, see

Campus Safety

Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. SafeCampus’s team of caring professionals will provide individualized support, while discussing short- and long-term solutions and connecting you with additional resources when requested.


For a printable version of this syllabus and the full schedule, please click the links below:

Chinese 342 syllabusChinese 342 schedule

Students enrolled in Chinese 442 must complete additional requirements. Please see the supplemental syllabus containing the required course work for Chinese 442. 

Chinese 442 syllabus & schedule supplement

Catalog Description: 
Covers the same topics as CHIN 342 (students attend CHIN 342 lectures), with additional readings and assignments. Provides necessary background for 500-level courses in Chinese linguistics and textual study. Intended for graduate students or advanced undergraduates. Required: Reading ability in Chinese.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:40pm