China is the world’s most populous country and Chinese, spoken by more than a billion people, is arguably the world’s largest language. Through the process of globalization, Chinas has a growing significance not only on world economy but also in political and cultural interests. A person interested in studying China can watch history in the making as China continues to expand its influence. Studies in the language, culture and society of China lay the foundation for understanding the development taking place in China today and for building and maintaining contact with China in the future.
The Chinese language has a long history, a rich culture and literature. A major distinction between Chinese and the western language groups is the use of tone to indicate lexical and grammatical meaning rather than inflectional forms. The writing system is derived from an original pictorial principle and to achieve a good understanding one must learn approximately 2500 characters. During the courses Chinese A and Chinese B, students will focus on reading simple texts. By Chinese C and Chinese D, students have advanced to reading non-fiction, newspaper articles and literary texts. At the D-level, a student may choose to spend a term in China (D1) at one of our partner universities, or spend a term writing a Bachelor’s thesis in Chinese (D2), or spend a term doing an internship (D3) at a government agency, business or other organization connected to China and the Chinese language. Throughout the entire program (A-C), students will study the Chinese language alongside other courses on the history of China and Chinese culture and society.
Chinese has been taught at Uppsala University since 1915, instituted by one of Sinology’s forerunners, Professor Bernhard Karlgren. The growing interest in China during the past decade has led to additional funding for courses and programs around Chinese and China studies. Courses are currently given at the first and second cycle, with a PhD program in Sinology scheduled to begin in 2017.