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I'm creating a beginner level curriculum to teach middle school students the foundations of Chinese language and culture. I do not have a solid foundation in the culture, but wanted to impart what I know to inner-city kids in the effort of expanding their minds to East Asia.

I watched/read 西游记 (Journey to the West) a while back and thoroughly enjoyed the story. Since this class is attempting to bridge students here to East Asia, I thought a clever name could be 东亚游记 (Journey to the East) to represent the beginning of these students' journeys on their way to learn more about East Asia.

With my limited cultural background, would this misconstrue the point of the course? Is this actually capturing what I'm looking for? Or is there a better way/more concise way to translate "The beginning/foundations to learning about Chinese language and culture"?

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东游记 would be a more obvious analogue, having the same rhythm . –  congusbongus Oct 21 '13 at 0:16
    
If there's a 100-word brief introduction aside the title, "Journey to the East" would be a good name. If not, for "East", it would also often refer to Korea and Japan. Students may misunderstand what the curriculum is about. –  Stan Oct 21 '13 at 1:16
    
Maybe it's just me but use 东亚 for China sounds arrogant. 东/东方/远东 for China sounds fine, although they are also much more than China, can't figure out why. –  NS.X. Oct 21 '13 at 4:58
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@NS.X. I can answer that; 1. until fairly recently in history, Chinese did not think of themselves as being part of Asia; outside diasporas Chinese rarely introduce themselves as "Asian" instead of simply "Chinese", and 2. the phrase 东亚 unfortunately is reminiscent of a phrase that ends with "Co-prosperity Sphere". –  congusbongus Oct 21 '13 at 11:57
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1 Answer

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If you are travelling ONLY in China (or mainly in China), you can name your class "中国行" (Tranvel in China).

Or is there a better way/more concise way to translate "The beginning/foundations to learning about Chinese language and culture"?

For a beginning as a Chinese's thinking, I think you need to give such a name as "中国行", because it's of too deep meaning and many students will think you have a lot of things to talk about. To be very honest, I think you can translate it as "初识中国","认识中国"or"汉语语言文化基础"

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Just personally, I feel the names in this answer sound a little too academic, though they are actually more precise than "东游记". –  Stan Oct 21 '13 at 3:05
    
I think "中国行" is better. –  CA55CE37 Oct 21 '13 at 3:38
    
But If you wanna write a jounery of your leanrning Chinese, just name it as "汉语学习笔记". –  CA55CE37 Oct 21 '13 at 3:44
    
@Stan does "中国行" have the meaning of "literally traveling to China"? I don't want that meaning. I'm looking for a metaphor to describe a student's journey to learn about East Asia (more specifically, China), which they will do through my class. Does "东游记" not work at all? –  Growler Oct 21 '13 at 14:13
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@Growler 1. 中国行 does have the meaning "traveling to China", but it can be also a metaphor to meet your requirement. 2. Without a brief introduction aside, all metaphors would mislead students. 中国行 would be considered as "introducing travelling experience in China"; 东游记 would be even more difficult to guess your true meaning (though it's quite fascinating). In conclusion, you can't get both "accuracy" and "lively metaphor" at the same time :) –  Stan Oct 21 '13 at 17:25
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