Why learn Chinese?
China is one of the most populous nations in the world. Of its population of more than 1.4 billion, there are over 900 million native speakers of Mandarin Chinese (putonghua), which is also spoken in Taiwan and Singapore. At Durham, we teach Mandarin Chinese, which shares a common script with Cantonese and other Chinese languages. There are some 136,000 native Mandarin speakers living in the UK, with approximately 36,000 UK citizens in China, and a further 45,000 resident in Singapore.
China is currently the UK’s 6th largest export market (£17 billion, 2015) and its largest source of imports (£63.6 billion). China is presently the second-largest economy in the world, forecast by many to overtake the USA in the coming decades. China remains firmly a priority international market for the region and the UK as a whole.
24% of content on the Internet is written in Mandarin Chinese, and it is expected this will shortly become the largest single language on the Internet. Increasing uptake of Mandarin across UK secondary education offers more opportunities to learn Mandarin for UK youngsters, supported by the growing network of Confucius classrooms (143 in 2016). there are presently 29 Confucius Institutes at universities across the UK. Entries at GCSE continue to grow, and by the end of the 2018/2019 academic year, 2159 school students took Mandarin across the UK.
Whatever your academic or professional specialism, knowledge of Chinese can help enhance your career prospects and your international mobility. At Durham, we offer Chinese from beginners to advanced levels to develop students’ linguistic potential and cultural understanding. We focus on the study of Chinese script from an early stage alongside speaking and listening skills.
We offer extra-curricular courses in Chinese year-round, with start dates in October, January, April and July. These courses are open to Durham University students, staff and members of the public. Too see the levels currently on offer, please visit our course listings.
Our teachers speak Chinese as a first language and have specialist language training.
For further information on our credit-bearing modules, click here.