Master of Arts / Postgraduate Diploma in Chinese Language and Literature (MACLL/PgDCLL)

[This curriculum is applicable to cohorts admitted in or after 2016/17.]

The following list is subject to revision. Their offering is subject to the availability of teaching staff and viable enrolment numbers. Some elective subjects may not be offered every year. The Department has the discretion on the offering semester and class quota.

Compulsory Subjects


Subject Code
Subject Title
No of Credits
The Chinese Language Block
Description of Chinese I: Words and Sentences
This subject helps students to get an overall picture of Chinese, to gain solid knowledge on the structure of Chinese, to understand the evolution from Classic Chinese to contemporary Chinese, and various genres in Classic and contemporary Chinese. It discusses issues like Chinese and its dialects; Putonghua and Modern Standard Chinese; morphemes and words; structure of compounds; semantic relations between words; lexical changes; word classes; sentence structure; various sentence types, stylistic issues, and genres and registers.
CBS530 *
Description of Chinese II: Sounds and Script

This subject helps students to get an overall picture of Chinese, to gain solid knowledge on the structure of Chinese, to understand the evolution from Classic Chinese to contemporary Chinese, and various genres in Classic and contemporary Chinese. It discusses issues like Chinese and its dialects; Putonghua and Modern Standard Chinese; morphemes and words; structure of compounds; semantic relations between words; lexical changes; word classes; sentence structure; various sentence types, stylistic issues, and genres and registers.

CBS533 *
Description of Chinese II: Sounds and Script

This subject enables the students to get an overall picture of Chinese sounds and script, especially their uniqueness and diverseness, to gain solid knowledge on phonological and graphological structures of Chinese, and the sound change and evolution of Chinese scripts. It discusses the relationship between sounds and script; phonology; Cantonese phonology; Putonghua phonology; traditional Chinese phonology; phonological variation; study of script; the characteristics of Chinese script; Chinese script in the context of information technology.

The Chinese Literature Block
Literary Theory and Modern Chinese Literature
This subject aims at helping students understand basic theories of Chinese literature. It also provides opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with some texts related to Chinese literary criticisms. Important topics and aspects of literary criticism together with prominent writers of the period will be introduced. Moreover, this subject also surveys modern and contemporary Chinese literature in terms of its historical background, its artistic development, its latest achievements and foreign influences upon it.
Readings of Classical Literature
This subject enables students to acquire reading ability in classical Chinese by adopting a systematic approach, familiarizing them with the historical background, artistic development, and writing techniques of classical Chinese literature with a special focus on prose and verse. Topics such as prose in the pre-Qin period, historical records in Han, prose writing from Tang to Song, schools of prose writing in the Ming-Qing period, poetry in the pre-Tang period, Tang-Song poetry, ci, and qu will be discussed.
The Chinese Culture Block
Introduction to Chinese Culture and Chinese Classics

In 14 lectures, this subject will cover the major issues in traditional Chinese culture: the emergence of humanism and its realization in the early Chou Dynasty; the schools of Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods, and their influence on Chinese culture; Buddhism in China and the religious function of Confucianism; changes of dynasty and systems of government; the conflict and harmony between rural areas and the ruler of the kingdom; the ideology in education and the selection of officials through a civil exam system; the spirit of science and scientific inventions; and the essence of classical Chinese literature, music, painting, and drama. Class discussion will be conducted and enriched with excerpts from relevant Chinese classics.

* Students are allowed to choose either CBS530 or CBS533 to satisfy the compulsory credit requirement.

Elective Subjects

Students are required to take at least one 3-credit elective subject from the Chinese Language Block and one 3-credit elective subject from the Chinese Literature Block.


Subject Code
Subject Title
No of Credits
The Chinese Language Block
Semantics and Pragmatics
This subject aims to systematically introduce the basic concepts, theories, research methods and major findings of modern semantics and pragmatics. It pays special attention to facts and findings in Chinese semantic and pragmatic studies, and endeavours to illustrate the applied potentials of such studies. Also expounded are the relationships between form and function, meaning and use, and language and cognition.
Special Education Needs in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing

This course will introduce to participant the causes and profiles of individuals with special education needs from childhood to adolescent. The course will introduce the following types of special education needs (1) developmental language delay and disorders; (2) developmental speech delay and disorders; (3) cleft lip and palate; (4) voice disorders; (5) fluency disorders; (6) specific learning difficulties in reading and writing; and their correspondence principles of assessment and management.

This course also aims at training students to critically evaluate relevant literature to promote lifelong learning.

Special Education Needs associated with Cognitive, Physical and Sensory Disorders

This course will introduce to participant the causes and profiles of individuals with special education needs from childhood to adolescent. The course will introduce the following types of special education needs (1) intellectual disabilities; (2) autism spectrum disorders; (3) attention deficit and hyperactive disorders; (4) physical disabilities; (5) sensory disabilities; (6) emotional and behavioural disorders; and their correspondence principles of assessment and management.

This course also aims at training students to critically evaluate relevant literature to promote lifelong learning.

Language in Society

This subject introduces students to the basic concepts, theories, research methods, and major findings in sociolinguistics, paying special attention to the facts and findings in Chinese sociolinguistics. The subject intends to stimulate students' interest in sociolinguistics and help them recognize, evaluate, and research sociolinguistic issues and phenomena in their daily life, including in professional settings.

Research Methods in Language Teaching and Language Studies
This subject aims to provide a systematic training on research methodology in language studies and language teaching, especially in second language teaching, which is indispensable for students wishing to conduct research on language-related study topics at postgraduate level, such as practicing as a teacher. The focus of this course will be on quantitative linguistic research keeping future and in-service teachers in view.
Introduction to Educational Linguistics
Students who have not taken subjects on pedagogical linguistics could learn the basic concepts of Linguistics, research areas and applications by taking this subject. For students who have taken general Linguistics classes before, by taking this subject, they will review and update their knowledge, enhancing it by learning about the pedagogical applications of the traditional areas of the study of sounds, words, sentences and meanings, as required to become competent Chinese teachers, who can deal with foreign students needs coming from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Teaching Chinese Vocabulary to Non-Native Learners
Students will get acquainted with recent research on foreign language vocabulary teaching/learning in general (mostly based on English) and on Chinese vocabulary building and acquisition in particular. A general introduction of vocabulary knowledge and the cognitive process related to learning words is followed by practical/pedagogical examples and techniques of building up foreign learners’ vocabulary skills. The students will learn how to prepare suitable graded teaching materials for the learners (readers with exercises and audiovisual materials) and how to develop the best assessment methods for the growth of vocabulary. This course also encourages them to experiment with their new methods, so that they can make the strenuous procedure of word learning more pleasant and motivating for foreigners.
Sign Language and Linguistics
This subject provides an overview of hearing impairment from two perspectives: the medical perspective (e.g., mechanism of hearing, hearing aids) and the cultural perspective (e.g., sign language, deaf culture). It will also introduce the students to the development of children with hearing impairment in areas of language, cognition and literacy.
Introduction to Chinese Language Testing
Principle of language measurement, Development of language tests, Assessing listening, Assessing speaking, Assessing reading, Assessing writing, Measurement scales, Language test validity, Language test reliability, Item analysis, Basic descriptive statistics, Item and test relatedness, Assessing language for specific purposes (LSP), Bilingual measurement.
Introduction to Cantonese Studies
This subject introduces students to various linguistic properties of Cantonese in a principled manner, so as to enable them to understand the differences between Cantonese and Putonghua and to pursue comparative study between the two in the future. Topics include the classification of Chinese dialects; Cantonese sound system and Romanization schemes; standard pronunciation; written forms of Cantonese; word formation; syntax and semantics of Cantonese particles; and the major syntactic differences between Cantonese and Putonghua.
Contrastive Analysis

This subject aims to provide students with an understanding of the basic principles of contrastive analysis and to familiarize them with the methods of applying these principles to a number of similarities and differences between Chinese and English. The emphasis of the subject will be on the basic grammatical properties of these two languages, drawing from current research findings in language typology in particular. Students are trained to analyze and solve linguistic problems they may encounter in the workplace, including but not limited to language teaching and translation. This subject will also contribute to the development of critical thinking, global outlook and cultural appreciation, and life-long learning.

Chinese Language Education in Primary and Secondary Schools
This subject aims to provide students with a basic understanding on the Chinese language education in Hong Kong and to level up professional competence in the teaching and learning of Chinese Language in primary and secondary schools. The subject explores major issues including principles and strategies of Chinese teaching and learning, the conceptual basis and methods of teacher professional development, etc.
The Development and Implementation of School-Based Chinese Language Curriculum in Hong Kong

This subject aims at providing students with a systematic outlook on Chinese language education in Hong Kong following the principles and curriculum framework in Applied Linguistics. The subject covers major issues in linguistic description and sociolinguistic variation that are relevant to Chinese language education in multilingual and multicultural Hong Kong, such as the "Chinese as a second language" curriculum and school-based inclusive education.

Chinese Lexical Semantics and Corpus Linguistics

This subject introduces lexical semantics and corpus linguistics with focus on the Chinese language based on the perspective of language as knowledge system. Language as knowledge system is one of the most comprehensive perspectives to account for the complex system of language. To understand the knowledge system of language, it is essential to explore how concepts are conventionalized and represented in language, and what are the underling structure and possible cognitive motivations of linguistic meaning. And the linguistic approaches to these issues are lexical semantics and corpus linguistics.

The main objectives are to familiarize students with these two newly developed fields of linguistics, to help them to acquire the skills to analyze linguistic meaning based on empirical data, and to provide empirically verified understanding of how language works to support a wide range of applications and cross-disciplinary studies in language sciences, including but not limited to educational, computational, cognitive, clinical, cultural, neuro-, psycho-, socio- linguistics.

Teaching Chinese Grammar to Non-native Speakers
Teaching Chinese Grammar to Non-native Speakers is a practical subject which builds on the foundational knowledge of Chinese grammar. It aims to help students to explore various ways in which knowledge about Chinese grammar can be applied to Chinese language teaching. It also helps students to understand the implications of pedagogical grammar and to master its practical classroom applications.
Using Reading to Teach Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages
This course has two directions: It provides an overview of recent research on reading theories applied to foreign language teaching, and leads to their applications for Chinese instructors. The theoretical reflection points students to their own research and dissertations, while the practical application trains them to work out intensive reading programs for international students.
Teaching of Chinese Characters and Words to Non-native Learners
This course introduces to students the basic structure and evolvement of Chinese characters, the morphological pattern of Chinese words, the psychological processes of character and word acquisition, analysis and explanation of word meaning, and analysis & compilation of teaching materials on Chinese characters and words.
Teaching of Chinese: Listening and Speaking
This subject aims to provide students with basic training in the teaching of Chinese listening and speaking. The subject will cover basic knowledge, teaching approaches, teaching plan design, training of integrated skills and classroom managementin teaching Chinese listening and speaking to both local and foreignstudents.
Chinese Language and Culture
This course aims to provide students with opportunities to explore and examine various social, cultural and scientific aspects in the study of Chinese language, to gain a general understanding of the Chinese society and cultural tradition, and to learn to appreciate the intra- and inter-social and cultural values of Chinese language.
Multimedia Applications for Language Professionals and Translators
This subject introduces the use of computer software and electronic resources in language-related academic activities. Students will learn about language processing on computers (with a special focus on the processing of the Chinese language), online language resources, and computerized language databases. The course will also touch upon some advanced applications, such as computer-assisted language learning and teaching, and computer-assisted machine translation. Techniques on sound recording and editing, animation, video editing will also be introduced. By the end of this course, students will have experience with both using language-related computer resources and generating multimedia materials for language learning and teaching.
Psycholinguistics studies the psychological and neurobiological factors that allow humans to acquire, use, understand and produce language. The first part of the subject offers a systematic introduction to the key topics in psycholinguistics, examining the mental processes involved in speech perception, word recognition, language comprehension and production. The second part of the subject focuses on Chinese psycholinguistics, differences between processing Chinese and processing English, and bilingual processing in relation to translation and interpretation. The subject intends to stimulate students' interest in psycholinguistics and help them recognize how the mind and brain deal with language in general, and Chinese and English in particular, in daily life communication and in professional contexts such as language teaching, translation and interpretation.
This subject provides an overview of the cognitive and neural processes that are critical for the production and comprehension of language, and the influence of language disorders on those processes. It will help students to develop an understanding of diverse topics including brain models of language processing, language acquisition and development, and language disorders. An emphasis will be placed on the Chinese language such as Cantonese and Mandarin.
Experimental Phonetics
This subject provides a solid foundation in phonetics and phonology. The scope of the subject covers articulatory phonetics (how speech sounds are produced), acoustic phonetics (i.e. the physical properties of speech sounds), auditory phonetics (i.e. how speech sounds are perceived by the listener), and basics of phonology (i.e. the system of speech sounds of a language). Language materials used in this subject mostly come from English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Students will also learn about basic experimental methods and tools for research in phonetics and phonology.
Statistical Methods in Language Research
This is an introductory course to statistical analysis used in language studies. This course includes fundamental concepts in statistics, methods of descriptive and inferential statistics with application in analyzing quantitative linguistic data and solving linguistic problems. In particular, we focus on experimental designs, simple linear regression, hypothesis testing and statistical modeling of linguistic data. It offers hands-on experience with statistical analysis software, and provides students with theoretical background in statistics enough to understand the software output, and make a critical review of the results in a qualitative study. Students are also trained to report statistical results of linguistic data for their own projects.
The Chinese Literature Block
Fiction in the Ming and Qing Era
The subject aims to explore the characteristics and significance of representative works of Chinese fiction in the Ming and Qing periods. Various classic fiction will be discussed and studied from the cultural and literature perspectives so as to raise the students’ capability in analyzing and appreciating classic fiction.
Chinese Opera and Literature
This course focuses on literary studies of Cantonese opera, in comparison with other traditional and regional Chinese opera genres such as Peking opera and Kun opera. The course is designed to introduce students to the historical development of Chinese opera, the relationship between Chinese language and opera songs, and the literary analysis of play scripts. It will also enable students to appreciate and comment on these masterpieces.
Poetry of the Tang and Song Era
This subject offers a critical study of selected works of Tang poetry and Song ci with a focus on their stylistic development and artistic achievement. The subject is divided into two parts. In the first part, poems in different periods of Tang Dynasty (early, high, middle and late) are selected for reading. The emphasis will be on the works of Li Bai, Du Fu, Gao Shi and Wang Wei. In the second part, Song ci of Liu Yong, Su Shi, Zhou Bangyan (of Northern Song), Jiang Kui and Xin Qiji (of Southern Song) will be selected for in-depth study. The course also covers works of the distinguished female ci author Li Qingzhao. Students are encouraged to get familiar with their works and style.
Selected Readings of Vernacular Fiction

This subject offers a critical survey of Chinese vernacular fiction. It helps students to gain knowledge of classical, modern and contemporary Chinese vernacular fiction by providing the historical background, structure, characterization, plot and other arts of fiction. Excerpts for in-depth analysis will be selected from the following works: "Sanyan", "Erpai", "Shuihuzhuan", "Xiyouji", "Hongloumeng" "A-Q Zhengzhuan", "Hulanhezhuan", "Ziye", "Biancheng", "Niaoyu", "Ren A ! Ren" "Furongzhen", "Qiqie Chengqun", and "Changhenge", etc.

Hong Kong Literature

This subject aims to provide students with general knowledge of Hong Kong literature with a focus on popular literature as reflected in selected works from poetry, prose and fiction. Students will familiarize themselves with the development of poetry, prose, novel and drama in Hong Kong literature; to develop an ability to appreciate and analyze Hong Kong literary works from different angles; to understand the relationship between Hong Kong literary works and society; and to improve their teaching ability of Chinese literature.

Contemporary Chinese Society through Literature


Selected Readings of the Eight Writers of the Tang and Song Era
In classical prose writing, the Tang and Song era is considered the peak, serving as a link between the previous era and the following era. Eight writers have been acclaimed as masters of the art: Han Yu, Liu Zongyuan of the Tang Dynasty, and Ouyang Xiu, Zeng Gong, Wang Anshi, Su Xun, Su Shi, and Su Zhe of the Song Dynasty. To have a comprehensive understanding of their works, a wide range of genres from each writer are selected to be studied in three ways: the uniqueness of their writing; their styles in contrast with that in the previous era; and how these writers inherited the tradition and how they influenced the late comers.
Digital Media Communication

In a highly competitive and globlaized environoment, the distinct characteristics of digital media communication can present both challenges and opportunities to corporations. Communication professionals are expected to understand the digital langauge and media landscape when strengthening coporate-stakeholder relationship.

Recognising the cruicial role of digital media for effective corporate communication in a globalized society, this subject offers a critical understanding and analysis of the theories, strategies, functions, use, and ramifications of digital media, particularly social media from an applied linguistics perspective.

CBS593 #
MACLL Dissertation
The role of this subject is to provide students with a platform to demonstrate their mastery of the fundamental concepts of linguistics and literature theories, the ability to extend them to the analysis of the Chinese language and literature, and the ability to carry out a small-scale research, from formulating a problem to writing up the final report. This subject will also contribute to the development of critical thinking, synthesizing and organizing abilities, and life-long learning.
Non-CBS elective subjects
Islam, Christianity and Chinese Culture
Appreciation of Chinese Classical Rhymed Writings
Field Studies in Discourse for Language Professionals
This subject aims to build on students’ knowledge of discourse analysis and pragmatics. It provides students with an advanced understanding of how spoken and written discourses are organised and how meanings are realised. The subject emphasises the study of professional discourses, including those of language professionals.

# Students who choose to register for the CBS593 MACLL Dissertation must have (a) successfully completed 6 credits from the compulsory subjects with an overall GPA of 3.50 or above; (b) registered the outstanding credits of compulsory subjects concurrently in the same semester of the same academic year; and (c) obtained permission from the Programme Leader.

Credit transfer for compulsory subjects may be sought before the MA programme starts, and is normally granted on a case-by-case basis.


For Possible Study Pathways for CBS MA Scheme Students, please click here.