topics in chinese linguistics: introduction to chinese unit 1: the chinese language

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  • Topics in Chinese Linguistics: Introduction to Chinese Unit 1: The Chinese Language
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  • Nomnclature Mandarin - Guanhua, an official language used in the court, the language of officials Guoyu - National language. Putonghua - Common Speech, Common Language Huayu or Huawen Singapore or overseas Hanwen used in Korea and Japan Zhongguohua Languages in China Zhongwen alternative to Hanyu, focusing on written language
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  • Current status and Future Hanyu is used by 720 million people 70% of the population of China speak Hanyu One fifth of world population speak Hanyu (885 million ) 12.18.1973, U.N. General Assembly, 28th Session resolution: Chinese is one of the working languages of U.N. Mandarin belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family Mandarin will become the major language in Asia in the 21 century.
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  • Varieties Northern (Mandarin)-Beijing Wu-Shanghai Min Southern - Fuzhou Min Northen - Xiamen Yue (Cantonese)- Guangzhou Kejia (Hakka) Xiang - Changsha Gan - Nanchang
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  • Features and characteristics Pronunciation Vocabulary Grammar
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  • Pronunciation The number of syllables are limited: 432. There are 1376 syllables if all tonal variation is taken into account. (Liu, 1957) Vowels are predominant. There are four tones in Mandarin.
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  • The number of syllables are limited The total number of syllables is 432 if tones are not taken into consideration. There are 1376 syllables if all tonal variation is taken into account Examples: a, ma, ba, ren, nong, ti, shang (See Xiandai Hanyu Cidan, the syllable table, pp. 7-12)
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  • Vowels are predominant lo, mio, li One syllable has at most two consonants nng consonants: [n] and [ng] There are no consonant clusters [sp] speak [st] steak [kst] text
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  • Four tones in Mandarin m m m m mmother hemp horse to scold
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  • There are five tones in Shanghai dialect. There are nine tones in Cantonese dialect.
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  • An interesting story written by Chao Yuenren using one syllable ( 1980. p.149) Sh sh sh sh sh sh, sh sh, sh sh sh sh. Sh sh sh sh sh sh sh. Sh sh, sh sh sh sh sh. Sh sh, sh Sh sh sh sh. Sh sh sh sh sh, sh sh sh, sh sh sh sh sh sh. Sh sh sh sh sh sh, sh sh sh. Sh sh sh, sh sh sh sh sh sh. Sh sh sh, sh sh sh sh sh sh sh. Sh sh, sh sh sh sh sh sh, sh sh sh. Sh sh sh sh.
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  • Translation of SHI story The poet Mr. Shi who lived in a stone house liked to eat lions. He swore that he would eat ten lions. He went to the market often to look for lions. At ten oclock, it happened that ten lions were in the market. At that time, Mr. Shi happened to arrive in the market too. Mr. Shi looked at the ten lions and he shoot the ten lions with arrows. He picked the dead bodies of the ten lions and returned to his stone house. The stone house was wet. He made the servant to clean the room. After the room was cleaned, he began to try to eat these ten lions. Only by the time of eating, he found that these dead bodies of lions were actually stone lions. Try to explain this story.
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  • Vocabulary Morpheme the smallest meaningful unit of a language. A morpheme in Chinese is a syllable (may or may not be a word.) Free Morpheme can be used as a word by itself Bound Morpheme used only as an attachment to another morpheme
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  • Most words in morden Chinese are disyllabic loshxuxxuxioyyunbozh teacherto studyschoolhospitalnewspaper
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  • Most words in ancient Chinese were monosyllabic y, clothing, to dress ch, vehicle rn, person r, sun jin, to see zh, er zh of
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  • Script Non-phonetic: a character has no clue to its pronunciation Ideographic or pictographic: characters are derived from the pictures The writing unit is character. Characters can be written vertically or horizontally, from left to write, from right to left, or from top to bottom
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  • A character has no clue to its pronunciation
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  • bn
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  • Characters are derived from pictures
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  • Characters can be written horizontally, from left to write or from right to left
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  • Characters can be written vertically from top to bottom
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  • Guwen Guanzhi An Anthology of Ancient Chinese
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  • Various styles of writing
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  • Grammar Topic-prominent No inflection The word order is important S+V+O The use of measure words (classifiers) Left-branching
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  • Topic-prominent John, w rnshi. [John, I know.] Zh bn sh, w kn le sn bin. [This book, I read three times.]
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  • No Inflection English work, works, working, worked Chinese gngzu
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  • The word order is important S+V+O S V O Mma i w. [Mother loves me.] W i mma. [I love mother.]
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  • Large quantity of measure words y g pngyoua friend y zhng zha sheet of paper y b doa knife y tio qnzi a skirt y jin chnshn a shirt
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  • Language in Contact Influence from Altaic: SVO order Power to form new words Load words
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  • Influence from Altaic The word order SOV is influenced by Altaic language
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  • Power to form new words When new words were introduced to Chinese, most words were translated into Chinese and the new words were coined based on the meaning of each character. telephone dinhu electric speech television dinsh electric vision computer dinno electric brain laser jgung activated beam railway til iron road
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  • load words radar lid model mtr pound bng shock xik humor yum cola kl sofa shf
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  • Words borrowed form other langauges From Miao-Yao kng a brick bed h tiger From Altaic d little cow From Proto-Thai xing - elephant From India: pto - grapes Modern Persian: bda wine Iranian prototype budwa or bdwa From India: ml jasmine flower Sanscrit: mallik
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  • Reading assingments 1.Norman Chapter 1 2.Chinese Profile htm htm 3.The Chinese Languages chinese.html chinese.html
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  • Review questions for Unit I 1. Explain the following terms: Guanhua, Mandarin, Putonghua, Guoyu, Hanyu, Zhongguohua, Zhongwen, Huayu 2. How many people speak Mandarin? Where are they? 3. What language family does Chinese belong to? 4. Is Chinese language a unique language? What are the varieties of Chinese? 5. What are typological characteristics of Chinese? 6. Give some examples to show the linguistic features of Chinese in terms of pronunciation, words and grammar. 7. In what way is Chinese influenced by other languages?


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