1st Edition

传承中文 Modern Chinese for Heritage Beginners Stories about Us

By Yan Liu, Jingjing Ji, Grace Wu, Min-Min Liang Copyright 2023
    250 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Modern Chinese for Heritage Beginners aims to serve as a stepping-stone for Chinese heritage language learners’ future Chinese learning, inspiring them to reflect on their identities, learn Chinese American history, and embrace their cultural heritage.

    The book starts with talking about individuals and families and then expands to the Chinese and Asian American communities in the U.S. and eventually to the entire American society, all from the unique perspective of Chinese American students. Taking a macro approach that builds learners’ literacy skills on their initial abilities in speaking and listening, each lesson starts with listening and speaking activities and then moves to reading and writing. The content complexity and language difficulty are balanced to present rich content that matches students’ critical thinking abilities in a language appropriate for their literacy level. Lively and humorous language makes the book a joy to read. Each lesson has a conversation and an essay to expose students to informal and formal registers. Moreover, authentic tasks are designed to facilitate students’ language output, following the three modes of communication promoted by the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.

    This theme-based Chinese textbook is written for high school and college-level Chinese heritage language learners.


    List of abbreviations and symbols

    Background of main characters






    Unit One 我和家庭

    Lesson One 我的名字

    Lesson Two 我是华裔美国人


    Unit Two 家庭语言

    Lesson Three 我家的方言

    Lesson Four 普通话和方言


    Unit Three 教育

    Lesson Five 家庭教育

    Lesson Six 中文教育


    Unit Four 移民故事

    Lesson Seven 移民故事

    Lesson Eight 中国版图


    Unit Five 社区和社会

    Lesson Nine 中国城

    Lesson Ten 中国城的未来


    Pinyin-English vocabulary


    Yan Liu is Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University. Her recent research focuses on Chinese language pedagogies and interdisciplinary curriculum development. Currently, she serves as a board member of CLTA (2022–2025) and co-chairs two CLTA SIG groups: Content-based Chinese Language Courses at Advanced Levels and Chinese Heritage Language Learning.

    Jingjing Ji is Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Northwestern University. Before joining Northwestern, she worked at Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia. She also worked at intensive summer programs such as Middlebury College summer school. Her publications on Chinese heritage language education have appeared in various peer-reviewed academic journals.

    Grace Wu is Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been in charge of the heritage track of Chinese courses at Penn since 1994. She published a series of Chinese Biographies with Cheng and Tsui and is Chair of the ACTFL Heritage Language SIG (2022–2024).

    Min-Min Liang is Lecturer in Chinese at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has developed three Chinese learning websites: Teaching Chinese Writing, Chinese Contemporary Writers, and Puzzles for Reading and Writing, and co-authored a Chinese textbook titled Modern Readers with Performance-based Tasks and an online reader, iChineseReader. She is Vice Chair of the ACTFL Heritage Languages SIG (2022–2024).