Presentation on theme: "Topics in Chinese Linguistics: Introduction to Chinese Tim Xie California State University, Long Beach"— Presentation transcript:
Topics in Chinese Linguistics: Introduction to Chinese Tim Xie California State University, Long Beach
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 ) , 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.
Eight Chinese Dialects Northern (Mandarin)715 million (71.5%) Jiangsu-Zhejiang (Wu) 85 million (8.5%) Cantonese (Yue)50 million(5%) Hunan (Xiang)48 million(4.8%) Hakka37 million(3.7%) Southern Min28 million (2.8%) Jiangxi (Gan)24 million(2.4%) Northern Min13 million(1.3%) (DeFrancis (1984) The Chinese Language p. 58 )
Features and characteristics Pronunciation Vocabulary Grammar
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.
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)
Vowels are predominant – lǎo, miáo, lèi One syllable has at most two consonants – nóng – consonants: [n] and [ng] There are no consonant clusters – [sp] ‘speak’ – [st] ‘steak’ – [kst] ‘text’
Four tones in Mandarin mā má mǎ mà 妈麻马骂 mmother hemp horse to scold
There are five tones in Shanghai dialect. There are nine tones in Cantonese dialect.
An interesting story written by Chao Yuenren using one syllable 石室詩士施氏﹐嗜獅﹐誓食十獅。氏時時適市視獅。十時﹐適十獅適市 。是時﹐適施氏適市。氏視是十獅﹐恃矢勢﹐使是十獅逝世。氏拾是十 獅尸﹐適石室。石室濕﹐氏使侍拭石室。石室拭﹐氏始試食是十獅。食 時﹐始識是十獅屍﹐實石獅屍。試釋是事。 ( 趙元任《語言問題》商務 印書館 p.149) Shí shì shī shì shī shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī. Shì shí shí shì shì shì shī. Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì. Shì shí, shì Shī shì shì shì. Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shì shì, shǐ shì shí shī shì shì. Shì shí shì shí shī shū, shì shí shì. Shí shì shì, shì shǐ shì shù shí shì. Shí shì shì, shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī. Shí shí, shǐ shì shì shí shī shī, shí shí shī. Shì shì shì shì.
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 o’clock, 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.
Vocabulary: most words in modern Chinese are disyllabic 老師學習學校醫院報紙 lǎoshīxuéxíxuéxiàoyīyuànbàozhǐ teacherto studyschoolhospitalnewspaper
Most words in ancient Chinese were monosyllabic 衣 yī, clothing, to dress 車 chē, vehicle 人 rén, person 日 rì, sun 見 jiàn, to see 者 zhě, –er 之 zhī of
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
A character has no clue to its pronunciation 豳
Characters are derived from pictures
Characters can be written horizontally, from left to write or from right to left
Characters can be written vertically from top to bottom
Guwen Guanzhi – An Anthology of Ancient Chinese
Various styles of writing
Character writing From left to right From top to bottom From outside to inside Follow stroke order 媽
Grammar Topic-prominent No inflection The word order is important S+V+O The use of measure words (classifiers) Left-branching
Topic-prominent John, wǒ rènshi. [John, I know.] Zhè běn shū, wǒ kàn le sān biàn. [This book, I read three times.]
No Inflection English – work, works, working, worked Chinese – gōngzuò 工作
The word order is important S+V+O S V O Māma ài wǒ. 媽媽愛我。 [Mother loves me.] Wǒ ài māma. 我愛媽媽。 [I love mother.]
Large quantity of measure words yī gè péngyoua friend yī zhāng zhǐa sheet of paper yī bǎ dāoa knife yī tiáo qúnzi a skirt yī jiàn chènshān a shirt
Language in Contact Influence from Altaic: SVO order Power to form new words Load words
load words radar léidá 雷達 model mótèěr 模特兒 pound bàng 磅 shock xiūkè 休克 humor yōumò 幽默 cola kělè 可樂 sofa shāfā 沙發
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 電話 diànhuà electric speech television 電視 diànshì electric vision computer 電腦 diànnǎo electric brain laser 激光 jīguāng activated beam railway 鐵路 tiělù iron road
Words borrowed form other langauges From Miao-Yao 炕 kàng – a brick bed 虎 hǔ – tiger From Altaic 犢 dú – little cow From Proto-Thai 象 xiàng - elephant From India: 葡萄 pútáo - grapes Modern Persian: bāda ‘wine’ Iranian prototype budāwa or bādāwa From India: 茉莉 mòlì – jasmine flower Sanscrit: mallikā