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Dear Fresher, This year, Catz Freshers are receiving an additional Catz JCR Publication – a Subject Guide. We commissioned our year group to create a guide designed to assist in adjustment to life and work at Catz, specific to each subject. Our contemporaries reacted with typical Catz spirit and we are so proud of the results. In each guide should be a brief intro to what your first year will be like, with contact details, relevant links, helpful tips and useful information. By no means will all of it be relevant (or even make sense) before you arrive, but hopefully having a gist of how the year will turn out will prove helpful, and we suggest you read it in the summer. We also recommend that you keep it in mind throughout the year, some of the points may only become relevant later in the year. We ask that you don’t distribute these guides outside the Catz community – it’s by Catz, for Catz. We have tried to verify all the information, but some will inevitably change, such as who will supervise you. Please accept our apologies if that is the case. For this AMES guide we would like to credit and thank Colette, Henry, Venetia and Milly. Please remember there is a multitude of people for you to come to with questions – us, the Subject Reps, your college parents, and others in the main Freshers’ Guide. We all want to help. Looking forward to meeting you – enjoy the rest of the summer! Catz Love Beth and Mikey

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INTRODUCTION HELLOOOOOOOO and welcome to AMES at Catz! You’ve chosen one of the best courses, at the best college, at the best university in the world. Well done! There are 4th AMES students in 2nd year, all of whom do Chinese. We can be contacted by adding @cam.ac.uk to the initials and numbers below: Milly Martin – ehm33 !

Henry Reilly– hr330! !

Colette Howarth – ch611

Venetia Speke – vs365

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Sadly none of us took Japanese or Arabic! or Hebrew or whatever, but that doesn’t mean no one else in the college does (4th Years will be back!) and also AMES is a very tight knit community, so we’ll probably be able to put you in touch with the right people if you don’t do Chinese (something we are very qualified to advise about). AMES is a really challenging, but rewarding and stimulating course that we’ve all enjoyed a lot over the year. It can be hard getting into the swing of it (I mean…the script… come on.) but we promise you DO have the capacity to !!


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do this and indeed excel. We are on hand year round to help and advise – we learnt a lot from 1st Year, and not just about Chinese and would like to pass on our wisdom. This is the official site for AMES and http://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/deas/chinese/undergraduate.htm pretty sparse.

Chinese but it’s

The AMES Faculty is on the Sidgwick Site – have a look http://map.cam.ac.uk/#52.201024,0.110103,18 . This will be where your lectures are held, in addition to the AMES library and a common room. Colette is your AMES Subject Rep, and one of us will be your college parent so feel free to contact us with any questions at any point!

SUPERVISIONS Language: Language supervisions are in pairs. Each week you prepare supervision material (mainly texts and dialogues or grammar exercises), which you will then go through with your supervisor. These are in both simplified and traditional characters. The main emphasis of these supervisions is to improve your ability to speak correct Chinese so prepare to have yourself corrected on tones repeatedly, but keep trying and do not be disheartened, you will get better! It is really worth preparing well as you get so much more out of the supervision and it is a chance to really take advantage of a native Chinese speaker paying close attention to you. History: History supervisions are organised on a one per essay basis. This means that you are likely to have a different supervisor every time as the way it works is that of the many lecturers on the EAS course, one will set, mark and then supervise on an essay. These supervisions are usually in groups of 4/5. Classical: Classical supervisions do not start until Lent (2nd) Term as this is when classical lectures start. They are in pairs and each week you prepare supervision material, which usually involves sentences and passages to translate from classical Chinese into English. These are not always easy and can be frustrating but prepare them as best you can and take advantage of the direct contact you get in supervisions to see where you went wrong and attempt to clarify your understanding of the grammar! Classical is difficult so try to make the most of these supervisions to put into practice what you learn in lectures.

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CHINESE MODULES

East Asian Studies, aka History All students of Chinese and Japanese will in first year study a paper called EAS1: An introduction to East Asian History. It is split into the study of China, Japan and Korea. The course is very broad- it starts at the pre-history of all the countries, through medieval history, pre-modern history, and goes right up to the modern era, with Mao’s China, the Korean War, WW2, the Cold War and its aftermath and effects in East Asia. Although the sheer amount of time that is covered in lectures seems a bit daunting at first, don’t worry. If you focus on the areas that interest you most (as long as enough of them do!) then you will be fine for the exam. Reading: There’s a huge list of recommended reading online for the EAS course, but don’t worry about it too much before you come up. If you do want to do some reading, and it will probably set you up well for the year, have a look at some survey histories of the countries, or East Asia in general. For example, East Asia: A cultural, social and political history by Patricia Ebrey and others would be a decent starting point. Essays: through the year you’ll be set a series of essays on the topics you’re lectured on. There’s often a choice between essay titles with different reading lists, so in theory not everyone’s fighting over books. The essays are usually about 2500 words long. Usually in the week following hand-in, you’ll have a supervision on the essay with about 4/5 other students. You’ll go through the essays and the history with the supervisor. Although these might seem a bit intimidating at first, supervisions are what make Cambridge different (read superior) to other universities, so make the most of them! All in all, the EAS course is basically a very broad introduction to the social, cultural and political developments throughout the history of the region, so you can put all your knowledge and reading into context, and it helps you decide what you’d like to specialise in later. Don’t worry too much about itthere’s only around 3 or 4 hours of teaching time per week, plus supervisions, and it makes up 20% of your grade at the end of part 1A (first year).

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Chinese Oral Oral and Texts are both taught using traditional characters, this can seem daunting at first especially if you haven’t learnt much Chinese before but you get used to it very quickly! Oral class is there to help improve your spoken Chinese. The group size is half that of a Modern class so the teacher can pay more attention to each student. The lessons offer a great opportunity to review the grammar points learnt in Modern which are often taught quite quickly. You also cover a lot of additional material prepared by the teacher containing useful new vocabulary and grammar points, so it’s really worth turning up even though it can seem boring. NB: you will grow tired of describing endless pictures, but it’s the basis of the oral exam so try and pay attention. Texts Texts is a really useful class which in the first term is there to improve your character formation and traditional character recognition. In the second term you do a lot of translation from Chinese to English (which is what you have to do in one of the exams). Again, it’s really worth going to these lessons as they do help in the long run for the exams! Modern Modern Chinese lectures are the main language lectures where you are introduced to all the core vocab and grammar points. These lectures are taught in simplified characters and mainly follow a textbook you will buy when you get to Cambridge. These lectures give you the foundation vocab and grammar, which you then practice in oral class and in supervisions. These lectures do start at the very beginning so do not worry if you have never done any Chinese before as they are designed for this. However, the pace is fast so you progress quickly, it may seem dull but we would hugely advise you to keep on top of character learning as this will really pay off in the long run. Also, dictation is commonly the start of lectures so if you haven’t learnt your characters it will show! As the key language lectures these are ones really not to miss, but we have found that with a good class dynamic they are quite fun and you definitely learn a lot! The exam: The exam paper has 3 sections; a grammar section where you have to place characters (often particles) in the correct place in a sentence, a translation section of English sentences into Chinese and an essay on a usually fairly simple and broad topic. This exam is worth 20% of your part 1A. !!


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Aural aka listening Aural classes are where you try to improve your understanding of spoken Chinese. These are taught in a language lab so the lecturer controls what you listen to through a computer and headphones. You follow a textbook that complements the modern Chinese textbook and also watch other videos and clips. These lectures focus quite heavily on you being able to identify tones, do not worry if you struggle with this, most people do and perseverance really will start to pay off! The exam: The listening exam is a multiple choice paper (warning: this does not mean it is easy!) It is quite quick fire as you listen to extracts either once or twice and answer questions. This exam is worth 10% of your part 1A.

Classical Classical Chinese refers to the ancient literary language that Chinese was written in. But as freshers arriving it does not need to be your first concern you don’t start classical until Lent. However it is an important part of the course so it is good to be aware of it, Cambridge puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of learning classical to read texts in the original. In first year you will start with very old texts from the likes of Confucius and works such as the Art of War. In lectures you read short selected passages from these texts, which you will have prepared in advance. You will also learn some classical Chinese grammar. You also have supervisions to practice translation. Classical is hard work, you may often despair but it is a learning experience and if you pay attention and work on it you should get better! Our top tips for classical would be: start learning vocab from the beginning; learn it as you go along otherwise you will be overwhelmed at exam time. Also, an element of the course is knowing about the philosophies and ideas you are reading about in their historical context, it is probably an idea to do a bit of reading over Christmas and then definitely over Easter so you are prepared as this is mainly down to you as lectures focus on the language and translation. The exam: The exam features a “seen” translation, ie. a passage that you have translated in class, an “unseen” translation, a series of sentences of classical Chinese which you have to translate into English and analyse grammatically and finally a few short extracts from philosophers/ schools of thought in English for which you must identify which school they come from and explain the reasons why you think this.

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Japanese – this was written by our friends Ollie Lionel Preston and Carl Fredrik Eriksson Monday to Friday everyday you'll have 2 hours of language. These 2 hours are split up into one hour lessons. In the course you'll be using two textbooks that go hand in hand with one another. One teaches the grammar and other has exercises to practice the grammar you've just learnt. So each day 1 hour will be going through a chapter of the textbook on grammar (analyzing a written dialogue) that you will have prepared the day before, and the other hour is to go through the exercises of that lesson and the specific grammar covered in the chapter. You will also have a one hour supervision (a class with just a teacher and two students including yourself) in which you'll do some listening and simple conversation. At the beginning of the week you'll have a vocab test as well It's a rigorous course with quite a lot of complicated grammar, so it requires 100% focus from day one (as does any course supposedly). Over the summer you might want to have a close look at the grammar book we use in the first year + start learning kanji. If you have done some grammar in the book the course gets much easier to get through.

CONCLUSION Chinese is awesome, so are the other languages if you aren’t a sinologist. We’re really looking forward to meeting you and welcoming you to the Catz AMES family.

ENJOY THE REST OF THE SUMMER AND SEE YOU SOON

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Ames guide