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Matthew Christensen

Professor and Chinese Flagship Center Director
Asian and Near Eastern Languages

3081 JFSB
Provo, UT 84602



Dr. Christensen received his B.A. from Brigham Young University in Chinese with a minor in International Relations in 1988. He participated in BYU’s first ever China Study Abroad program at Nanjing University in 1985. He received his M.A. in 1990 and Ph.D. in 1994, both from The Ohio State University in the field of Chinese linguistics. Following his graduate studies, he was hired as director of a Cantonese language project at Ohio State University where he worked for a year developing a Cantonese textbook series. He has been teaching at BYU since 1995. Dr. Christensen is also the Director of the Chinese Flagship Program and has been working with that program since its inception in 2002.

Selected Publications

A Geek in China: Discovering the Land of Bullet Trains, Alibaba, and Dim Sum. Tokyo, Rutland, VT, Singapore: Tuttle Publishing.

Decoding China: A Handbook for Traveling, Studying, Working and Living in Today’s China. Tokyo, Rutland, VT, Singapore: Tuttle Publishing. 2013. 288 pages.

English Grammar for Students of Chinese. Ann Arbor, MI: The Olivia and Hill Press. 2010. 115 pages.

“Cultural Sensitivity and Lifelong Learning.” Co-authored with J Paul Warnick. In The Pedagogy of Performing Another Culture. Minru Li, ed. Columbus, OH: Foreign Language Publications. 2010.

“Bringing Culture into the Chinese Language Classroom Through Contextualized Performance.” In Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: Theories and Applications. Michael Everson and Yun Xiao, eds. Boston: Cheng & Tsui. 2008.

“你好 and Greeting Strategies in Mandarin Chinese.” Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association. Vol. 41, No. 3, October 2006, pp. 19-34.

Performed Culture: An Approach to East Asian Language Pedagogy. Columbus, OH: Foreign Language Publications, National East Asian Languages Resource Center. 2006. 255 pages. Coauthor: J Paul Warnick.

“Anaphoric reference in spoken and written Chinese narrative discourse.” Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 28.2, June 2000, pp. 303-336.

Spoken Cantonese: Performance and Acquisition. Columbus, The Ohio State University: Foreign Language Publications. 1995. Coauthor: Xiaobin Jian.   


BA, Brigham Young University, 1988; Chinese major, International Relations minor MA, The Ohio State University, 1990, Chinese linguistics PhD, The Ohio State University, 1994, Chinese linguistics


Chinese language pedagogy, teacher training, materials development, discourse analysis, language contact, Chinese food culture, Chinese poetry, Cantonese. 

Honors and Awards

  • Gold Award, Guidebook Category, for A Geek in China, The Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, 2017 Thomas Lowell Journalism Competition (2017 - 2017)

Courses Taught