Each lesson in the Chinese series of texbooks New Practical Chinese Reader contains a section entitled "Master the following phrases". Below are a few examples from lesson 16 (in volume 2):

现在就去 - 今天就来 - 星期六就去看电影 - 下午就去图书馆借书 (...) 上楼去 - 下楼来 - 寄钱去 - 寄明信片来 (...) 把这本书看了 - 把钱换了 - 把礼物拿了 - 把饭吃了 (...)

There are teachers of Chinese who claim that mastery of such phrases will enable you to speak a lot of Chinese, even without explicitly learning a lot of grammar. They then let their students read these phrases and build sentences with them. While they may be right about the usefulness of these phrases, the exercise they come up with is mindnumbingly boring and, in my experience, rather ineffective.

Since there are many such types of phrases (each lesson in New Practical Chinese Reader has a list), and asking for advice on phrases in general would make my question too broad, I'll focus my question on just one specific type: those using the 把 structure. In Chinese, the object usually follows the verb, but 把 can be used as a preposition to put the object before the main verb. In this case, the object needs to have a direct reference, e.g. "the book", "this shirt" or "that bottle of water"; it can't be used for objects like "a book", "some shirts" or "a few bottles of water". (This explanation is not intended to fully cover the use of , but the distinction between direct and indirect reference may be relevant to the type of exercises you come up with.)

So my question is: how can teachers promote mastery of the 把 structure in a way that is more engaging and more effective than creating sentences that use predefined phrases? I am looking for communicative activities; transforming sentences from a grammar exercise book is not a communicative exercise.

Update: When using external resources in your answers, these don't need to be in English; resources in German, French or Dutch are also fine.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.