posted on Jan. 2: Beginner courses in Chinese, Catalan offered this term


Beginning this month, the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics is offering beginner courses in both Chinese and Catalan.

Gabriele Erasmi, chair of modern languages & linguistics, notes that in the past year or so, the University has received numerous requests from professors in China wanting to upgrade their English skills. “They study English there but this is an opportunity for them to become better acquainted with an English-speaking country.”

Visiting professor Men Shun-de will teach the one-hour Mandarin Chinese course on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 12:30 p.m., and on Tuesdays starting at 1:30 p.m. Shun-de also intends to study the Canadian methodology for teaching a second language, as well as work on an English-Chinese dictionary.

The Chinese class will be a general introductory course for persons with no knowledge of the language, Erasmi says. However, he expects that additional courses will be required once the word is out that a beginner class has started. “There may be a demand from second-generation Chinese members of the local community, many of whom can speak the language but not read it.”

The two-hour beginner Catalan course will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at 4:30 p.m. Later in the year, a course on Catalan literature and culture, given in English, will also be available, and will highlight important literary works written in Catalan during the Renaissance period.

Because Catalan is not a national language, the course offers an interesting opportunity for students to appreciate the variations and differences of a minority language, says Erasmi.