Teaching of Conversational Cantonese at OSU: The Cantonese Gamluhk (“Golden Buck”) Fund

June 24, 2020

Teaching of Conversational Cantonese at OSU: The Cantonese Gamluhk (“Golden Buck”) Fund


The teaching of Conversational Cantonese at OSU is a very recent phenomenon. The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (DEALL), which began life in 1962 as the Division of East Asian Languages and Literatures, has offered Chinese language instruction since its inception; that is, standard Chinese based on Mandarin. Then, in Autumn Semester 2013, for the first time in OSU’s history, Conversational Cantonese was offered in DEALL, with graduate students Yutian Tan and Tsz-Him Tsui as the co-instructors, Litong Chen assisting as course developer, and Professor Marjorie Chan as faculty supervisor. That semester, the course was taught using Chinese 4194, a Group Studies course.

That course then served as the foundation for developing a 2-course sequence:

Chinese 4301. Conversational Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers I

Chinese 4302. Conversational Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers II

Chinese 4301 and Chinese 4302 are conversational Cantonese language courses for speakers of Mandarin, and are open to both advanced learners of Mandarin Chinese and native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. The course sequence aims to develop basic skills in speaking and listening comprehension in the Cantonese variety of Chinese, to enable the learners to function successfully in Cantonese-speaking settings using Cantonese as their primary language. Our hope is that the two-course sequence can be offered on a regular basis, with potential extension to offering them as distance-learning courses to other CIC institutions in the future.

The two courses were formally implemented by OSU Registrar on 2 December 2014. Through generous support from DEALL and the East Asian Studies Center (EASC), Chinese 4301 was offered for the first time in Spring Semester 2015, and has been taught for a total of five consecutive Spring Semesters. Students were excited and enthusiastic, as evidenced by full capacity over the years. After a brief hiatus in Spring Semester 2020, Chinese 4301 will be offered again in Spring Semester 2021, this time with funding support from DEALL and a new source, the Cantonese Gamluhk (“Golden Buck”) Fund.

The Cantonese Gamluhk Fund (Fund Number: 316950) was established at EASC in May 2020, with a generous initial gift from former OSU faculty member, Professor James H-Y. Tai. The fund aims to support DEALL’s offering of Cantonese language courses. With sufficient additional donations from colleagues, friends and the community to reach endowment level, the fund can also be used in the future to support other Cantonese-related academic programming on The Ohio State University campus. For information on donating to the Cantonese Gamluhk Fund, please go to: https://www.giveto.osu.edu/makeagift/?fund=316950. Thanks in advance for your support of Cantonese language instruction at OSU!