As China’s role in the international community grows, many people are struggling to study Chinese. But studying Chinese is never easy because there are over 80 million Chinese characters in the world. And the meaning of a word is changed according to its intonation even if it is pronounced the same.
There are 56 different racial minorities who live in China that have different vocabularies and lifestyles. Taiwan and Singapore use traditional Chinese characters, not simplified Chinese characters. Recently many people are watching Chinese movies as a fun way to study the Chinese language and to learn about Chinese culture.
Seowon University has a Chinese course that utilizes Chinese movies. It is taught by Professor Hwang Seon Ju who teaches elementary, intermediate and high Chinese classes. These classes are available to learn Chinese more pragmatically by watching movies according to the level of students. I conducted a short interview with Professor Hwang about this learning method.
Q. Why do you use Chinese movies in class and does watching movies work for students to learn Chinese?
A. I use Chinese movies to motivate and interest students by breaking away from boring textbooks. Actually, students who are familiar with electronic devices can study Chinese practically and realistically by viewing Chinese movies. Furthermore, because students like watching movies, every student participates in class and concentrates on the learning.
Q. How can I utilize movies for studying Chinese effectively?
A. Watching a Chinese movie can help develop listening ability and help master native speaker’s pronunciation. Therefore, the most important things are repetitive listening and making an effort to follow the native speaker. You shouldn’t only focus on watching movies, but also study and write Chinese characters together.
Q. Can you recommend movies for students who are afraid to study Chinese?
A. It is not a good idea to watch difficult Chinese movies. Watching easy animation or familiar content is best. It is important to learn a foreign language in a fun way.
During the short interview, Professor Hwang emphasized the importance of practical and realistic learning methods. He added that native speaker’s intonations, pronunciation and way of talking is more important than we think.
In the education system emphasizing only grammar and vocabulary, and pursuing practical study of a foreign language is not easy. As a result, many people are afraid of talking to foreigners, and easily give up studying foreign languages too. So if you study a foreign language at home by using a movie or internet content, you will not only be interested in the language itself, but you will also be able to learn practically.