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Encountering a new approach to learning Chinese

By Zhang Lulu  (

16:38, June 17, 2013

As China’s global influence continues to spread along with its cultural appeal, an increasing number of foreigners are eager to learn Chinese. It is no surprise, therefore, that there is a burgeoning market for Chinese language textbooks and for beginners, one book is a must: Encounters, a book co-designed and written by China’s Sinolingua Co., Ltd. and America’s Yale University sets new standards, both in terms of quality and originality.

In a recent interview with, Huang Youyi, vice president of China International Publishing Group, Wang Junxiao, president of Sinolingua Co., Ltd., and Han Hui, editor-in-chief of Sinolingua, revealed how Encounters came into being.

Huang Youyi explained that Encounters denotes encounters and exchanges between different cultures and is aimed at those who are just beginning to study Chinese. In the domestic market, it can be used by foreign students who want to learn Chinese but are not majoring in it. For foreign learners who are not in China, the book is especially useful for senior high school students and undergraduates of all majors.

As defined by Huang, the book is a brand new Chinese language textbook produced by two of the world’s leading language-teaching publishing houses.

Han Hui pointed out that one of the book’s distinct features is that it is centered on a 20-episode TV series which was produced by the publishing team. It is the first textbook to have been developed in this way.

The team initially shot a pilot episode which was trialed in various places. Revisions were then made to the pilot according to the feedback received from teachers and students in the trial areas.

Despite the cost and effort required to bring the drama to life, it will serve as a valuable tool for students who, instead of being bombarded with a daunting textbook, will be able to immerse themselves in the Chinese language in a fun, interactive way.

Han added that the book is accompanied by a website where students can find videos, audio files and exercises to compliment their learning experience. The website also affords them the opportunity to share and exchange learning resources.

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