Grammar teaching in China

  • [Ren Zhang in 1997] Grammatical analysis of sentences is incorporated into a course called Yu Wen (literally, language and character, but largely like an intensive reading course) for high school students in China. The course itself is a must for students nationwide, starting from the first year in the junior high school when students are around 13. Information concerning analysis of Chinese sentences usually comes in the form of short topical articles interspersed between selected readings and some grammatical exercises appended to the readings. Students also have to take an exam on Yu Wen (thus grammar included) among other exams to get into senior high school or university. The teaching of grammar in the whole country is based on a so-called Provisional Chinese Pedagogical Grammar System instituted by the government-funded People’s Education Publishing House in 1956, which was revised in 1981 and 1984. As for the matter of successfulness, the impression from my own experience is that it is successful to some extent, though at the time students usually found the stuff boring and useless. I guess the basis in Chinese grammar has helped many of Chinese students of English to later assimilate and be good at English grammar.

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