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Unlocking the Secrets of the Chinese Language

Master the basics of Mandarin pronunciation and greetings to begin unlocking the secrets of the Chinese language.

Chinese woman standing with her back to the camera facing a temple filled with rows of traditional Chinese lanterns.

Unlocking the Secrets of the Chinese Language

  • 2 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Take your first steps in Chinese with Universiti Malaya

Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over a billion people worldwide. Learning it provides a gateway to a vast community of speakers and an insight into one of the world’s oldest and richest civilisations.

This beginner-friendly two-week course from Universiti Malaya is designed to provide a foundation for anyone starting out in Chinese.

From the basics of the Mandarin sound system to essential vocabulary and greetings, the course will set you on your way to unlocking the secrets of the Chinese language and culture.

Gain an introduction to the tones and sound system in Mandarin Chinese

The four tones are the building blocks of the Chinese language. Mastering them is essential for comprehension and communication.

Week 1 of the course will provide a comprehensive overview of the Mandarin sound system. You’ll be guided through each of the four tones, and learn how to harness Pinyin to aid you in your pronunciation.

Learn how to greet people and introduce yourself in Chinese

Once you’ve nailed your Chinese pronunciation, you can begin equipping yourself with the most essential vocabulary.

The second week of the course will guide you through a range of different greetings and words for introducing yourself and your family.

By the end of two weeks, you’ll have the foundation you need to begin confidently communicating and interacting in Chinese.


  • Week 1

    Introduction and Sound System in the Chinese Language

    • Getting Started

      Getting to know each other.

    • Introduction to the Chinese Language

      Discover the basics of learning Chinese.

    • Introduction to Chinese Vowels

      Learn how to differentiate and pronounce Chinese vowels.

    • Introduction to Chinese Consonants

      Learn how to differentiate and pronounce Chinese consonants.

    • Exploring Tones, Meanings, Hanyu Pinyin, and Pronunciation

      Uncover the dynamic varieties of tones, diverse meanings, the art of writing Hanyu Pinyin, and the intricacies of pronunciation.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Let's review Week 1!

  • Week 2

    Greetings and Self-introduction

    • Greetings

      Learn the different method of greetings in Mandarin.

    • Self-introduction and Family

      Explore different dialogues that can be used in daily conversation.

    • Weekly Wrap Up

      Let's review Week 2!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Pronounce and read Hanyu Pinyin correctly.
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand and speak simple Chinese sentences correctly in conversations.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for complete beginners with no prior knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Lau Su Kia is currently a language teacher at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya (UM). He began teaching Chinese as a second language at UM in 2007.

Yong Zhien Bao is a language teacher at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, UM. His Master’s thesis is on Chinese phonetics, and he is currently teaching basic Chinese courses at the faculty.

Who developed the course?

Universiti Malaya

Universiti Malaya is the premier research university in Malaysia, committed to advancing knowledge and learning through quality research and education for the nation and for humanity.

  • Established

  • Location

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Ways to learn

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$79/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 3 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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