Conversational Chinese

Every day, we hear various languages being spoken as we walk along the streets of Singapore. Mandarin Chinese, being the second most widely spoken language in Singapore can be heard in hawker centres, schools, workplaces, and so on. At Alpha Language School, we want to bridge this language gap for expatriates residing in Singapore so that they can converse in Mandarin as they live and work here.

In essence, our General Chinese course is similar to its General English counterpart; students practise the four aspects of language learning (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). However, what is special about Alpha’s Chinese courses is the cultural aspect—we aim to give our students a better understanding of the unique position that Singapore holds in the Chinese-speaking world. We also target for our students to have an appreciation of the wide variety of Chinese languages and dialects, and the nuances between them.

To explain further, here is some information about Singapore’s history of Chinese language and culture:

Ethnicity

Singapore is the only country, other than Greater China (including Taiwan), with a significant ethnic Chinese population—particularly Han Chinese—who are well represented in society. Chinese Singaporeans are people mostly descended from immigrants from Southern China. Although technically they are considered overseas Chinese, a majority of Singaporean Chinese will call themselves simply as ethnic Chinese.

Culture

Singaporean Chinese usually identify themselves by their linguistic and cultural origins. The top five dialect groups in Singapore are Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, and Hainanese. Because culture and language are tied very closely, people who are Hokkien practise different traditions and have different styles of cooking from people who are Cantonese, for example. Another way for Singaporean Chinese to distinguish themselves from one another is by their ancestral home in China, usually by the province their ancestors came from.

This diversity means that the Chinese culture in Singapore is more of a melting pot of cultures, especially due to how common marriages between people of different cultural/linguistic groups are. Interestingly, in these marriages, children tend to follow the ancestry of their father. For example, if a child has a Hakka mother and a Teochew father, they will typically learn the Teochew dialect and grow up with Teochew traditions and food.

Alpha's Approach

How does Alpha integrate all of these in our classes? We teach Singapore Standard Mandarin, but we also share the  different ways that Mandarin is used in other countries, in particular China and Taiwan. We engage in discussions about the differences in culture between Chinese-speaking countries and even between the dialect groups in Singapore.

Class Schedules


Conversational Chinese Course
10.00 pm – 11.30 pm (Mon), 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm (Fri), 10.00 am – 11.30 am (Sat)
12 hours
3 - 4
$360/course

Class Types and Academics

  • mandarin course

Contact Us

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