Middlebury's Chinese Department linguistically and culturally prepares all students completing our language course sequence to live, work and enjoy a social life in a Chinese language environment. Each year we offer a structured curriculum of five different levels of language instruction, from beginning Chinese to advanced senior seminars, in spoken and written Chinese (Mandarin and Classical Chinese). Starting from the first year, our language courses use as little English as possible. These language courses are designed to expand sequentially the student's communicative skills and knowledge of Chinese cultural norms. Our language courses focus on improving listening and speaking proficiency through advancing the learner's fluency and naturalness, range of vocabulary, standard Mandarin pronunciation and tonal accuracy, along with providing a solid grammatical foundation. At the same time these language courses seek to increase the student's reading comprehension and expand the accuracy and range of written expression. The Chinese Department also offers advanced courses and senior seminars taught entirely in Chinese at the fourth and fifth year level, which further develop and hone the skills learned in the first three years of study. Our wide array of courses on Chinese literature, film, linguistics and culture, some taught in English and some in Chinese, introduce to students the vast Chinese literary and cultural traditions. Students become familiar with ancient and modern texts, and modern film and art. In these literature and culture courses students learn to read closely, analyze carefully, and share knowledge through thoughtful discussion and clear, effective writing.