Skip Navigation

Chinese Language, Basic, Part I (NCAA Approved)

Arrow image that is used as button to enroll in courses. Enroll in this Course

Open to: Grades 7 - 12

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math or verbal score required

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Recommended School Credit: One-half academic year

Course Code: CH11

Course Description


In this college-level course, students are introduced to:

  • Chinese phonetics
  • the Chinese writing system
  • the pinyin system for writing Chinese using the Roman alphabet
  • basic Chinese grammar

The lively and interactive multimedia courseware is Chinese Odyssey, developed at Johns Hopkins University. It contains a wide range of activities that develop and solidify students' listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar skills. Conversation topics include basic greetings, informal conversations, doing homework, welcoming guests, and introducing friends. Students learn pronunciations with special emphasis on tones, basic principles of Chinese character composition, and simple sentence structures.

Lesson topics include:

  • basic greetings
  • talking about family  
  • describing professions
  • doing homework  
  • welcoming guests
  • inquiring phone numbers and addresses
  • introducing friends

Students interact with the instructors and other students using Internet-based software. Course materials include a textbook and a workbook purchased separately by the student.

Biweekly interactive virtual online sessions are held in the evenings (both ET and PT). A school's need to hold daytime sessions for its students will be honored whenever possible.

Separate conversation sessions between each student and the instructor or teaching assistant are arranged individually.

This course has synchronous virtual class meetings and students will also schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor and teaching assistant. View the schedule for class meeting times. Meetings will be recorded for students who are unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Virtual classrooms, and student activities in the classroom, may be recorded and added to the course as an ongoing asset for all class students to review. Students may be invited to interact in CTY community spaces that include students and instructors and potentially specially invited guests that are not enrolled in their course. Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations. Student contributions (e.g., projects, forum posts, etc.) may remain in the course after the student completes the course. These artifacts may be preserved to showcase student work or to continue important conversations.

Materials Needed

A textbook and a workbook must be purchased for this course:

Chinese Odyssey, Vol. 1, Textbook (Simplified & Traditional) - Innovative Chinese Courseware by Xueying Wang, Li-Chuang Chi, Liping Feng

Chinese Odyssey, Vol. 1 Workbook (Simplified & Traditional) Innovative Chinese Courseware by Xueying Wang, Li-chuang Chi, Liping Feng

Students will also need a headset with microphone.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Lesson 1 - Introduction to Chinese Phonetics

  • Get a brief overview of Chinese phonetics, the Chinese writing system, and spoken Chinese.
  • Learn about the pinyin system, including the basics of initials, finals, and tones.

Lesson 2 – Basic Greetings

  • Greet someone in a culturally appropriate way.
  • Basic principles of Chinese character composition and rules of phonetic spelling.
  • Review pronunciation, with special emphasis on tones.

Lesson 3 – How’s Your Family?

  • Use some family-related vocabulary.
  • Use Chinese to politely discuss someone’s well-being.

Lesson 4 – How’s It Going?

  • Ask people about their studies, health, and work.
  • Write more Chinese characters.

Lesson 5 – How Do You Make a Living?

  • Do a review of pinyin pronunciation and tones.
  • Learn more character combinations and rules of phonetic spelling.
  • Use basic vocabulary to identify things and people.
  • Ask somebody about his or her profession.

Lesson 6 – Doing Homework

  • Use Chinese to borrow and return items.
  • Talk about schoolwork.

Lesson 7 – Welcoming Guests

  • How to host guests and offer them drinks.
  • Express gratitude or respond to gratitude.

Lesson 8 – Asking Someone’s Name

  • Introduce one to others.
  • Inquire about someone you have just met.

Lesson 9 – Looking for Someone

  • Inquire about a person’s whereabouts.
  • Ask for and write Chinese addresses.
  • Learn to use Chinese numbers.

Lesson 10 – Introducing Friends

  • Learn to make introductions.
  • Set up a date and time to meet someone.
  • Politely accept and decline invitations.

Back to top

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

Most course lectures may be viewed on mobile devices, but in some cases assignments and quizzes must be completed on a desktop or laptop computer.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.



CTY Online Programs World Languages - Comments and Feedback from Students, Parents, and Teachers



"My son is really enjoying the course. He's been trying to teach his sister, my wife, and me Chinese words and phrases. Yesterday, he was telling all of us how to have entire conversations. I'm impressed by how much he's learned over a short period of time and plan for him to continue studying Chinese through Johns Hopkins. He also likes the interaction with the instructor and the other students over the computer."

"At breakfast this morning, my daughter was using Chinese to tell me about banks and banking, this week's lesson. She got very excited at the realization that she was for the first time thinking in Chinese, not English. It was just for an instant, but nevertheless a happy development. Thank you for helping my child learn so much."

“I enjoy the course very much. The individual attention during class makes it a very enjoyable hour, and the friendliness and relaxed atmosphere make class something to look forward to each week. I can’t wait to continue with the next level!