Chinese in Taiwan

Guide to Living and Working in Taiwan

Where To Learn Chinese In Taiwan

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese but many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent who have their own dialect collectively known as ‘Taiwanese.’ Increasingly though only the older generation will speak Taiwanese while the younger generation prefer to speak Chinese.

The smaller groups of Hakka and indigenous people have also preserved their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, a remnant of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan that only ended in 1945.

The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English (lucky for us English teachers), which is part of the regular school curriculum. Although most people speak some level of English, it is advised that you have instructions to get to your school and to your home written in Chinese so you can show a local or a taxi driver.

Basic Mandarin

Here some basic Mandarin phrases you might find useful:

    • Yes = shi 是
    • No = bu shi 不是
    • Thank you = xie xie 謝謝
    • Thank you very much = fei chang gan xie / hen gan xie 非常感謝 / 很感謝
    • You’re welcome = bu yung shie 不客氣
    • Please = ching 請
    • Excuse me = duei bu chi 對不起
    • Hello = ni hao 你好
    • Goodbye = zai jian 再見
    • Good morning = zai an 早安
    • Good afternoon = wu an 午安
    • Good night = wan an 晚安
    • Do you speak… = ni hui jiang … ma? 你會講…嗎?
    • English = ying yu 英語
    • I = wo 我
    • We = wo men 我們
    • You (singular, familiar) = ni 你
    • You (singular, formal) = nin 您
    • You (plural) = ni men 你們
    • He/She = ta 他 / 她
    • They = ta men 他們
    • Where is the bath room? = xi shou jian zai na li? 洗手間在哪裡?
    • How are you? = ni hao ma? 你好嗎?
    • How much does this cost? = zhi duo shao qian? 這多少錢?
    • Do you accept credit cards? = ni jie shou shin yong ka ma? 你接受信用哪嗎?
    • I’ll buy it. = wo yao mai 我要買
    • Please bring the bill. = mai dan 買單
    • Bread = mian bao 麵包
    • Coffee = ka fei 咖啡
    • Tea = cha 茶
    • Juice = guo jr 果汁
    • Water = shui 水
    • Beer = pi jiou 啤酒
    • Wine = hong jiu 紅酒
    • Meat = rou 肉
    • Beef = niu rou 牛肉
    • Pork = ju rou 豬肉
    • Fish = yu 魚
    • Vegetable = shu tsai 蔬菜
    • Fruit = shui guo 水果
    • Salad = sha la 沙拉
    • Dessert = dian shin 點心
    • How much is the fare? = che piau duo shao qian? 車票多少錢?
    • Ticket = piao 票
    • Train = huo che 火車
    • Train station = huo che jan 火車站
    • Bus = gong che 公車
    • Bus stop = gong che jan 公車站
    • Subway, Underground = jie yun 捷運
    • Subway station, Underground station = jie yun jan 捷運站
    • Airport = ji chang 機場

Language Exchange

You can learn Chinese for free! A language exchange means that someone will teach you Chinese and in return you will teach them English or another language. Language exchanges tend to work best if you are and your partner are both at an intermediate level or above in the languages you are learning. That way you can both communicate effectively in either language. If one partner is a beginner and the other partner at a much higher level then the language exchange will usually be lopsided and not work very well.

The best way to find a language exchange partner is just to ask someone directly or ask a friend to introduce you to someone who might be interested. You can also put up a notice on a notice board or post a message on the internet.

Chinese Language Schools

Listed here are a number of different universities and schools here in Taiwan that have Chinese classes available should you choose to take your language abilities to the next level.

Amerispan Study Abroad in Taipei

Our school has three campuses in Taipei. Students can easily transfer between any of the centers. The main campus occupies the third and fourth floors in a modern commercial building located on Roosevelt Road, a main thoroughfare in the southern part of the city. The surrounding area is one of the most popular residential districts in Taipei, particularly among university students. It has an abundance of restaurants, shops, night markets, and nightclubs.

Location: Taipei

Center of Chinese Language and Culture at National Taiwan Normal University

The Center of Chinese Language and Culture (Mandarin Training Center) was established in the fall of 1956 as an extension, not a department of the National Taiwan Normal University. Since that time, it has grown to become the largest and best known institution in the Republic of China dedicated to the teaching of Chinese culture and Chinese as a second language. All levels of standard and Classical Chinese as well as Chinese culture are taught.

Location: Taipei

ICLP at National Taiwan University

The International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) is widely held to be one of the world’s premier institutions for the instruction of both modern and classical Chinese. Since its original establishment in 1963 as the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP), it has offered intensive language training to over 2,000 students from more than 20 countries.

ICLP provides a year-long language program in a Mandarin-speaking environment which upholds much of its traditional Chinese heritage and culture within the framework of a modern democratic society. ICLP enables students to achieve broad and independent competence in spoken Chinese and to develop reading skills needed for academic research or other professional use.

The language center has an audio-visual room, reference library and computer lab with full Internet access for the use of students. Situated within the campus of the prestigious National Taiwan University (NTU), it enjoys the benefits of a central location in Taipei along with access to the full range of NTU’s academic, recreational, and sporting resources.

Location: Taipei

The Language Center at Fu Jen University

In addition to a strong Chinese language expertise, LC teachers have backgrounds and training in many other fields as well, including Chinese history, Chinese philosophy, other foreign languages, business, broadcast journalism, theater, and much more.

The experienced faculty is enthusiastic about teaching Chinese, using a curriculum that is engaging and systematic. The faculty has a reputation for producing students with a firm grasp of the Chinese language.

Location: Taipei

Mandarin Learning Center at Chinese Culture University

The Mandarin Learning Center is devoted to the teaching of Mandarin Chinese as a second language. We are affiliated with the Chinese Culture University, one of the largest universities in Taiwan with a student body of 32,000.

Conveniently located in Taipei, the Center is easily accessible by bus. Upon arriving at the MLC, placement evaluations are given to each student in order to determine his or her appropriate class level. Each level includes training in the four major language learning areas:speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

We teach traditional characters and zhu-yin (bo po mo pho) pronunciation system. Our teaching staff are highly experienced and committed to solving students’ problems. In addition, to maintain our high teaching quality, teachers are all university graduates.

Location: Taipei

Mandarin Studies Program at Taiwan National Chengchi University

The Mandarin Studies Program at National Cheng-chi University is committed to the training and study of Mandarin Chinese for international students. This commitment guides the teaching, learning and training activities within the program, which offers a variety of non-credit regular courses and elective courses.

Regular courses are designed to enhance listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at different levels; elective courses are available for those who would like to sharpen their skills in listening and speaking or to learn Classical Chinese, Business Chinese, Taiwanese, or Cantonese. Workshops, activities and field trips are organized so as to provide students with opportunities to integrate culturally and socially with local students.

Instructors in the program are highly qualified with years of experience in teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language to individuals with various linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Location: Taipei

Taipei Language Institute

Do you dream of accessing and controlling the Chinese market? Do you wish to become a dynamic member of the new economic era. If you master Mandarin Chinese, your future is in the palm of your hand. Discover your potential, study Mandarin Chinese at Taipei Language Institute, it’s your best choice.

Taipei Language Institute has been a pioneer in Chinese language education since its founding in 1956. In terms of course design, teaching materials and teacher training, TLI has become a model as well as a strong competitor in the language education field. TLI offers separate, flexible programs in Mandarin and Taiwanese that help students achieve their individual language-learning goals. Different teaching techniques and classroom activities are used at each stage of a student’s program.

Oral drills are emphasized in order to develop speaking and listening skills; special attention is given to the pronunciation of the Chinese tonal system; and students follow a set curriculum using TLI teaching materials designed to build a solid foundation in the language. Class discussions give students an opportunity to begin using their Chinese in a wide variety of everyday situations. In addition, a greater proportion of class time is devoted to developing reading and writing skills.

Location: Taipei

Chinese Language Center at Tunghai University

Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan and is located in the heart of the island. Many convenient forms of transportation, along with fine weather, which is pleasant and sunny throughout the year, make Taichung a highly desirable place to live. This well-known city boasts central Taiwan’s largest national science and fine arts museums, which complemented by frequent art and music festivals, cements Taichung’s reputation as a leading center of learning and culture.

CLC offers a wide variety of courses at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. There are classes covering the four standard skills of reading and listening comprehension, conversation, and writing, as well as curriculum in newspaper reading, business Chinese, and Classical Chinese literature. Additionally, CLC offers courses on Taiwanese language and culture, which allows students to understand the many rich aspects of native Taiwanese customs, such as martial arts, religions, architecture, and traditional crafts.

Location: Taichung

Chinese Language Instruction Center at Fo Guang University

Acquire your Chinese in a genuine Taiwan setting, free from polluted air, urban sprawl and high rents. Yilan is unrivaled in Taiwan for its well-preserved environment, imposing mountain backdrop and stunning view of the Pacific, and only a 90-minute train ride from Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei.

Fo Guang University is a unique institution of higher learning dedicated to providing a traditional liberal arts education of global outlook in the grand Buddhist spirit (students are neither required nor expected to study Buddhism or practice it’s tenants). All aspects of the learning environment have been considered in building a new kind of seat of learning in Taiwan where the spirit of humanities-based study and education can flourish and flower.

In line with its founding spirit, Fo Guang features the Chinese Language Instruction Center, which is dedicated to serving the needs of non-native speakers of Chinese from all over the world seeking an education in Chinese language and culture. An experienced faculty and comprehensively planned curriculum provide students with a keen interest in Chinese language, thinking, customs and culture with the requisite training and guidance to speak effectively. Make the most of your summer break with a carefully crafted term to boost Chinese language skills while providing a broad and intense cultural experience.

Location: Ilan