Larry Herzberg

Larry Herzberg


  • B.A. in English, Lawrence University, 1972
  • M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese, Indiana University, 1980


  • Associate Professor, Calvin College (2000–present)
  • Assistant Professor, Calvin College (1984–2000)
  • Assistant Professor, Albion College (1980–1984)


Larry Herzberg has been a professor of Chinese at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1984, when he started the Asian Languages Program here.  He is also currently serving as Director of Asian Studies. After studying Chinese for five years at Vanderbilt University, he did his PhD work in Chinese language and literature at Indiana University. Together with his Chinese wife, Xue Qin, he has published three books, including “The Chinese Survival Guide,” “Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar,” and “Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings:With Observations on Culture and Language.”

Larry has also more recently written a book by himself, entitled "Speak and Read Chinese: Fun Mnemonic Devices for Remembering Chinese Words and Their Tones." He and his wife have also produced three films on China, including “China Today: Issues that Trouble Americans at the Start of the 21wt Century,” “The China Threat: Perception versus Reality,” and “Chinese Dialects and Their Influence on the Pronunciation of Mandarin.”  In 2010 he received the FEN (From Every Nation) Award from the college and in 2011 he received the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching, the highest honor bestowed on faculty members by Calvin College. 


Cats, travel, cats, gardening, cats.

Additional Information

His wife, Xue Qin Herzberg, is a graduate of Beijing Normal University in Chinese language and literature.

Academic interests

  • Language pedagogy: teaching Chinese language and culture
  • Writing books on Chinese language and culture for both students and the general public
  • Making documentary films on China today for the general public


  • Writing Guide for Learners of Chinese (Yale University Press, 2020)
  • China Smart: What You Don't Know, What You Need to Know - A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language (2019, Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, CA)
  • Speak and Read Chinese: Fun Mnemonic Devices for Remembering Chinese Words and Their Tones (Stone Bridge Press CA, 2016)
  • Chinese Dialects and Their Effect on the Pronunciation of Mandarin (DVD):  2015  Calvin Video Productions
  • Chinese Proverbs (chapter in "Encyclopedia Of the Chinese Language) (Routledge Press, 2015)
  • Produced 2 1/2 hour documentary film called "The China Threat: Perception versus Reality" (Calvin Video Productions, 2012)
  • Author of “Chinese Proverbs:  A Window on Chinese Thought and Culture” (Stone Bridge Press, 2011)
  • Author of “Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar:  A Student’s Guide to Correct Structures and Common Errors” (Stone Bridge Press, 2010)
  • Author of “China Survival Guide:  How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps” (Stone Bridge Press, 2008;  revised edition, 2011; third edition, 2013)
  • Produced documentary film on China today (63-minute DVD) entitled “China Today:  Issues that Trouble Americans at the Start of the 21st Century” (Calvin Media Foundation, 2008)

Professional services

  • Violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony, playing over 100 concerts per year (1980–2016)
  • Violinist with the Nashville Symphony (1971–1976)
  • Played violin on numerous records with Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, etc. (1971–1976)


  • Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching, 2011
  • From Every Nation Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2010

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