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outline of general linguistics and chinese linguistics

Outline of General Linguistics and Chinese Linguistics

For CSET Preparation Workshop

Dr. Tim Xie

California State University, Long Beach



This outline was developed by CSULB faculty to provide some useful information to the students who prepare for the CSET. It is by no means a guideline endorsed by the National Evaluation Services or the Department of Education, California.

the nature of language
The Nature of language
  • Genetic classification譜系分類 – language families and branches語系和語支
    • Chinese belongs to Sino-Tibetan language family漢藏語系
  • Study of languages – synchronic共時 vs. diachronic歷時
    • Synchronic – study of a language at a certain period of time
    • Diachronic – study of a language from the historical perspective, study of historical changes

Diachronic study

Synchronic Study

phonetics and phonology
Phonetics and phonology
  • Organ of speech, vocal organs
suprasegmental phonemes chinese tones
Suprasegmental phonemes (Chinese tones)
  • 聲調名稱:陰平/陽平/上聲/去聲
  • 文字描寫:高平/高昇/降升/全降
  • 聲調符號(五度制聲調符號,五度制調號式)為趙元任1930年為標注漢語聲調制定
  • 漢語拼音四聲標調稱為漢語拼音式
  • ā á ǎ à
  • 另有五度制數字式 他 ta55, 南 nan35, 卡 ka214, 怕 pa51
some important concepts
Some important concepts
  • Minimal pair – bat:pat, 饱:跑(bǎo:pǎo)
    • differ in only one phonological element
  • Phoneme – kit, skit /k/; pit, spit /p/; nǐ, zǐ, zhǐ, /i/
    • a symbol representing a group of slightly different sounds which are all perceived to have the same function by speakers of the language
letters symbols and phonemes
Letters, symbols and phonemes
  • English: b /b/ beap p /ph/peep
  • Mandarin:
    • Pinyin b /p/ 饱 bǎo p /ph/ 跑pǎo
    • Zhuyin ㄉ /p/ ㄆ /ph/
pinyin and zhuyin
Pinyin and Zhuyin
  • Pinyin is based on the phonology of Western linguistics. The smallest unit is phoneme(音位).
  • Zhuyin is based on the traditional Chinese phonology. The smallest unit is initial and final(聲母和韻母).
morphology morphemes
Morphology: Morphemes
  • The MORPHEME 語素is the smallest unit that relates sound and meaning (or the smallest meaningful unit). For example, Meaning "dog" ⇔ Sound [dɑg] (English)
  • Bound 粘著(cannot be used by itself) and Free 自由Morphemes (can be used by itself )

Example: door – s

door – a free morpheme

– s a bound morpheme

  • prefixes 前綴(at beginning) — “un-” in “unable” 老虎
  • suffixes 後綴(at end) — “-ed” in “walked” 桌子
  • circumfixes 前后綴(at both ends) — "en--en" in "enlighten" (These always seem to consist of otherwise attested independent prefixes and suffixes.)
  • infixes 中綴(in the middle) -- “-bloody-” in “in-bloody-credible” (These are not used very much in English but occur frequently in other languages.) 糊里糊涂
derivational vs inflectional morphemes
Derivational vs. inflectional morphemes
  • Derivational morphemes are used to form new words
    • Un-happi-ness
  • Inflectional morphemes are used to form grammatical forms
    • work-s, work-ing, work-ed
word formation derivation and compounding
Word formation – derivation 派生and compounding 合成
  • Derivation
    • 初一、阿姨、老虎 (prefix)
    • 學員、刀子、鳥兒 (suffix)
  • Compounding
    • blackboard 黑板
    • 火車、地震、
chinese character morpheme word
Chinese character, morpheme, word
  • 天- one word, one character, one morpheme
  • 工人- one word, two characters, two morphemes
  • 玻璃- one word, two characters, one morpheme
  • 巧克力- one word, three characters, one morpheme
chinese idioms chengyu yanyu and xiehouyu
Chinese idioms – chengyu, yanyu and xiehouyu (成語、諺語、歇後語)
  • Four character idiom
    • 一鳴驚人
  • Proverb
    • 只要功夫深,鐵杵磨成針。
  • Enigmatic folk similes
    • 老鼠過街,人人喊打。
Script 文字
  • Structure of character
  • single vs. compound 獨體字-日、合體字-明
  • Stroke 筆劃
  • Radical 字根偏旁部首
  • Character 字
six principles of writing
Six principles of writing六書
  • Pictographs象形 – 火、日
  • Indicatives指事 - 上、下
  • Ideographics會意 - 林、森
  • Phonetic-semantic compounds形聲–江、河
  • Mutual Explanatories 轉注 -形似、音近、義同的一組字彼此互相解釋。考、老兩字同在 「老」部,讀音相近,意義相通。「考」字的解釋是「老」;「老」字的解釋是「考」
  • Phonetic loans假借 - 「自」 原是 「鼻」 的象形字     (象鼻之形),假借來記錄「自己」 的 「自」。「莫」 原是 「暮」 字的會意字 (日在草莽中,以示太陽下山),借來表示否定副詞「莫」。
change of styles
Change of styles 汉字的形体演变

汉字的历史上出现过多种书体,每种书体都有自己的形体特点。(一) 甲骨文(二) 金 文 (三) 大 篆(四) 小 篆(五) 隶 书(六) 魏 碑(七) 楷 书(八) 草 书(九) 行 书

simplified vs traditional characters history and methods of simplification
Simplified vs. traditional characters – history and methods of simplification
  • 五四以後知識分子提出簡化漢字甚至廢除漢字
  • 1935 民國34年教育部公布第一批簡化字體(共324個)
  • 1956大陸文改會公布515 個簡化字和54個偏旁
  • 1977二簡遭強烈反對取消
  • 隨著手寫和語音輸入等電腦技術的成熟,漢字未來的繁簡之爭,都會逐漸淡化。在中國大陸自然使用規範的簡化字,在海外可以識繁寫簡,也可繁簡由之。
methods of simplification
Methods of simplification
  • 一、省略ellipsis (Partial deletion)
    • 錄—录,號—号,雲—云,麗—丽
  • 二、改形 shape change
    • Phonetic component changes 改形聲字-潔—洁,驚—惊
    • Ideographic component changes 改會意字-體—体,塵—尘
    • Similar general outlook 輪廓化-齊—齐,龜—龟,報—报
    • Symbolization 符號化-區—区,趙—赵,
  • 三、代替substitution
    • 同音替代 homophones
    • a. Entire character 整体字: 谷-穀,后-後,几-幾,
    • b. Homophonic components 偏旁同音:优--優,机--機,灯--燈,
  • 四、 Other methods 其他
    • (逻辑合成 logical compounding)国,灭,阴,阳
    • (形似)摆,买,卖,头
    • 栾滦栾銮峦
  • Traditional sentence analysis – subject, predicate, object, attributive, (adverbial), complement, etc. 主謂賓定狀補
structuralism and phrase structure rules
Structuralism and phrase structure rules





Det N V P Det N

The students are studying in the library.






transformational rules n chomsky
Transformational rules (N. Chomsky)
  • S
  • NP VP
  • PP
  • NP
  • Det N V P Det N
  • The students are studying in the library.
  • V
  • Aux V
  • Be Pres V => Apply a transformational rule
  • Be V Pres => Apply a morphophonemic rule =>
  • are study -ing
transformational rule example 2
Transformational rule (example 2)


The workers built the house.

NP1 – Past – V – NP2 (deep structure)

=> NP2 – Past - be - en –V – by – NP1

The house was built by the workers. (surface structure)

grammatical characteristics of chinese
Grammatical characteristics of Chinese 漢語的語法特點
  • 漢語是主題突顯的語言 (topic-prominent)
  • 主語或賓語等成分可以省略 (ellipsis)
  • 沒有tense “時”,有aspect “態” (aspect)
  • 有大量的量詞 (MW)
  • 修飾語在被修飾語的左邊 (left branching)
  • 不僅動詞作謂語,形容詞名詞都可以作謂語
topic prominent
漢語是主題突顯的語言 (topic-prominent)
  • 這件事情我根本不知道。
  • 象鼻子很長。
  • 中國,我只去過北京和上海。
  • 這回大火,幸虧消防隊來得早。
  • 我家后院的那棵树,叶子很少,树干很细,非常难看,我真不喜欢,可是又不舍得砍掉,只好留着,以后再说吧。
tense aspect aspect
沒有tense “時”,有aspect “態” (aspect)
  • 了、著、過
    • 他畢業了。他明年就要畢業了。
    • 他在屋子裏坐著
    • 我吃過日本飯。
  • “了”不表示時間
    • 喝了它!Drink it!
    • 明天我就走了。I will leave tomorrow.
    • 我吃了中飯再走。 I will leave after lunch.
left branching
修飾語在被修飾語的左邊 (left branching)
  • 漂亮的姑娘
  • 我買的書
  • 昨天到這兒來的那個人
  • 在圖書館看書
  • 給他打電話
  • 這幢 房子 很 漂亮
  • 他二十歲。
  • 這本書二十塊。
  • 今天星期一。

Semiotic Triangle 語義三角

Source: http://inuse.blogspot.com/2006/07/semiotic-triangle.html

  • Homonym同音 bear/bare
  • Synonym同義 sofa/couch
  • Antonym反義 in/out, big/small
  • Hyponym下義 A hyponym is a word that represents different categories covered by a superordinate:. Superordinate/hypernym 上義: Animal. Hyponyms 下義: Cat, horse, etc.
semantic feature
Semantic feature+
  • A semantic feature is a notational method which can be used to express the existence or non-existence of semantic properties by using plus and minus signs.
  • Man is [+HUMAN], [+MALE], [+ADULT]Woman is [+HUMAN], [-MALE], [+ADULT]Boy is [+HUMAN], [+MALE], [-ADULT]Girl is [+HUMAN], [-MALE], [-ADULT]

Linguistic forms vs. functions – declarative, interrogative, imperative sentences vs. making statements, asking, requesting and commanding

Form Function

Declarative sentence Requesting

陳述句 請求

“今天好冷!” 請把窗關上。

speech act
Speech act 言語行為
  • Using language to do things is a speech act.
  • Example: By saying “I promise to improve.” you are making a promise which is a speech act. The verb ‘promise’ is a performative verb. The sentence is a perfomative sentence.
  • What Is A Speech Act (http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsASpeechAct.htm )
locutionary vs illocutionary meaning
Locutionary vs. illocutionary meaning
  • Locutionary meaning is the form of which they are the substance.
  • Illocutionary meaning or force depends on the context. Underlying purpose – a reminder, a warning, a promise, a threat, or whatever. 今天很冷. – The underlying purpose is ‘Please bring me an overcoat.’
conversational implicature
Conversational implicature

Conventional implicature is an implicature that ispart of a lexical item’s or expression’s agreed meaning, rather than derived from principles of language use, and not part of the conditions for the truth of the item or expression.

Example (English)

A speaker using the word but between coordinate clauses thinks that some contrast or concession relation is relevant between the clauses.

performative vs constative utterance
Performative vs constative utterance
  • constative utterance vs. performative utterance表述言語與行事言語
  • Constative utterances describes facts or provides information.
  • Performative utterances are speech that constitutes an act.
  • ‘This is a tree.’ – is a constative utterance. ‘I am baptizing you…’ is a performative utterance
cooperative principles
Cooperative Principles
  • Maxims of conversation – maxims of quantity, relevance, manner and quality
  • Example of a recommendation letter
social aspects of language
Social aspects of language
  • Social varieties of a language – socio-economical class, gender, age, profession
  • Situational varieties of a language – formal and informal
  • Chinese dialects – geographical varieties
  • Euphemisms and taboos
  • Communicative competence
language change
Language change
  • Historical change
  • Phonemic split and merge (Example of Chinese tonal system 平上去入in classical Chinese, 陰平、陽平、上聲、去聲in modern Mandarin)
  • Borrowing (loan words) and etymology
Because of the historical change of the tones, the originally rhymed syllables became different.

江雪 柳宗元





Modern Mandarin Classical

Qiān shān niǎo fēi jué [zi]

Wàn jìng rén zōng miè [mi]

Gū zhōu suò lì wēng [ong]

Dú diào hán jiāng xuě [si]

language acquisition
Language acquisition 語言習得
  • First language (L1) acquisition and second language (L2) acquisition
  • Stages of L1 acquisition:
    • The stages in language acquisition are similar, possibly universal.
    • Crying - Babbling - One Word/Holophrases - Two Word Phrases - Multi-Word Phrases - Critical Age Hypothesis
l2 acquisition
L2 acquisition
  • Pre-production, silent period
  • Early production (1000 words, speak in one- or two-word phrases, use short language chunks that have been memorized although these chunks may not always be used correctly)
  • Speech emergence (3000 words, can communicate with simple phrases and sentences
  • Intermediate fluency (6000 words, use more complex sentences )
  • Advanced Fluency (4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language)
difference between l1 and l2 acquisition
Difference between L1 and L2 acquisition
  • L2 learners who begin learning as adults are unable to achieve native-speaker competence in either grammar or pronunciation.
  • L1 learners do not experience social distance.
  • Adult L2 learners no longer have access to UG.
  • L1 and L2.htm (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/vivian.c/SLA/L1%20and%20L2.htm )
language interference interlanguage transfer theory
Language interference, interlanguage, transfer theory
  • L1 interferes with L2 acquisition. For example, transfer of grammatical rules from L1 causes some errors in L2 (in phonology, vocabulary and syntax).
  • The source language –INTERLANGUAGE-Target language. Interlanguage is systematic.
  • Transfer is the use of prior linguistic information or the physically carryover of L1 surface forms to an L2 context.
learning vs acquisition
Learning vs. acquisition學得與習得
  • Learning“学得”是有意识的过程,即通过课堂教师讲授并辅之以有意识的练习、记忆等活动,达到对所学语言的了解和对其语法概念的“掌握”
  • Acquisition“习得”是潜意识过程,是注意意义的自然交际的结果,儿童习得母语便是这样的过程。
  • 只有“习得”才能直接促进第二语言能力的发展;而对语言结构有意的了解作为“学得”的结果,只能在语言运用中起监控作用,而不能视为语言能力本身的一部分
input hypothesis
Input Hypothesis
  • S. Krashen
  • 习得者接触到“可理解的语言输入”(comprehensible input ), 即略高于他现有语言技能水平的第二语言输入,而他又能把注意力集中于对意义或对信息的理解而不是对形式的理解时,才能产生习得。
  • 公式:i + 1
  • 这种 i + 1 的输入并不需要人们故意地去提供,只要习得者能理解输入,而他又有足够的量时,就自动地提供了这种输入。(sufficient and comprehensible input
ideal input
Ideal input

1) Comprehensibility 可理解性 。理解输入的语言材料是语言习得的必要条件,不可理解的 ( incomprehensible ) 输入对于习得者而言,只是一种噪音。

2) Interesting and relevant 既有趣又有关 。 要使语言输入对语言的习得有利,必须对它的意义进行加工,输入的语言材料越有趣、越关联,学习者就会在不知不觉中习得语言。

3) Not grammatically sequenced 非语法程序安排 。语言习得关键是足量的可理解的输入。如果目的是“习得”而不是“学得”,按语法程序安排的教学不仅不必要,而且不可取。

4) Sufficient 要有足够的输入量。 要习得新的语言结构,仅仅靠几道练习题、几篇短文是不够的,它需要连续不断地有内容有趣味的广泛阅读和大量的会话才能奏效。

contrastive analysis and error analysis
Contrastive analysis and error analysis
  • Common errors for English speakers in learning Chinese (phonology, vocabulary, grammar, use of language, etc.)
    • 語音
    • 詞匯
    • 語法
    • 語用
  • Ellis, Rod. (1997). Second Language Acquisition. New York , NY : Oxford University Press.
  • Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman and Nina Hyams. (2003). An Introduction to Language. Heinle.
  • Krashen, Stephen. (1987). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Prentice-Hall
  • Norman, Jerry. 1988. Chinese. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ramsey, Robert. 1987. Languages in China. Princeton University Press.
thank you this ppt is accessible at http learningchineseonline net teacher
Thank you! This PPT is accessible at http://learningchineseonline.net/teacher