ISSN 2286-976X (Print)
ISSN 2539-5513 (Online)
RANGSIT JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
RANGSIT JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES (RJSH)
Volume 3 Number 1, January - June 2016
The Treatment of Chinese Culture in the New Practical Chinese Reader
Taking the position that learning a language is learning how to do things in that language and its cultural context, this paper is concerned with how a textbook can provide appropriate coverage of culture in the teaching of language. As a specific example we consider the first three volumes of a popular textbook for learners of Mandarin Chinese, namely the New Practical Chinese Reader (Liu, 2002), reviewing what sort of things this textbook enables learners to do in Chinese, including how well it supports the learning of aspects of culture that can be relatively independent of language learning, such as appropriate behaviour at Chinese banquets. We find that the first three levels of New Practical Chinese Reader ultimately build to an excellent approach to Chinese culture, but that the first level alone is relatively weak in this respect. Even for the first year of language study such materials should provide a good basis for learners to cope with the basic aspects of culture they would encounter in a visit to China.