Advertisement

The Chinese Language

  • Clay WilliamsEmail author
Chapter
  • 696 Downloads
Part of the Springer Texts in Education book series (SPTE)

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of the Chinese language and character system and attempts to dispel many of the myths and erroneous beliefs about the language which are commonly held among peoples with no first-hand knowledge of Chinese. Concepts such as distinguishing the various Chinese languages and dialects, how tones differentiate words, and common grammatical features (which may be puzzling to students from European language L1-backgrounds) are discussed before focusing attention on the character system. The major classifications of characters by type are discussed (e.g., pictorial, indicatives, ideographs, and semantic-phonetic compounds) along with the organizational principles which enabled their invention and how characters and their pronunciations have changed during the thousands of years of their continuous use.

Keywords

Chinese Character Chinese Language Writing System Semantic Radical Chinese Script 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO. (2003). National literacy policies: China. Available online at http://www.accu.or.jp/litdbase/policy/chn/
  2. Chen, H. Q. (1928). Yutiwen yingyong zihui [character used in vernacular literature]. Shanghai: Shangwu.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, Y. P., Allport, D. A., & Marshall, J. C. (1996). What are the functional orthographic units in Chinese word recognition: the stroke or the stroke pattern? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A, 49(4), 1024–1043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cipollone, N., Keiser, S. H., & Vasishth, S. (1998). Language files (7th ed), (pp. 448–456). Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Crystal, D. (2011). Begat: The King James Bible and the English language. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fan, K. Y., Gao, J. Y., & Ao, X. P. (1984). Pronunciation principles of the Chinese character and alphabetic writing scripts. Chinese character reform (Vol. 3, pp. 19–22). Beijing: National Commission of Chinese Character Reform (In Chinese).Google Scholar
  7. Feldman, L. B., & Siok, W. W. T. (1999). Semantic radicals in phonetic compounds: Implications for visual character recognition in Chinese. In J. Wang, A. W. Inhoff & H. C. Chen (Eds.), Reading Chinese script: A cognitive analysis (pp. 19–35). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  8. Hoosain, R. (1991). Psycholinguistic implications for linguistic relativity: A case study of Chinese. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Hudson-Ross, S., & Dong, Y. R. (1990). Literacy learning as a reflection of language and culture: Chinese elementary school education. The Reading Teacher, 44, 110–123.Google Scholar
  10. Luk, G., & Bialystok, E. (2005). How iconic are Chinese characters? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8, 79–83.Google Scholar
  11. McWhorter, J. (2003). Doing our own thing: The degradation of language and music and why we should, like, care. New York: Gotham.Google Scholar
  12. Moser, D. (2010). Why Chinese is so damn hard. Pinyin.info. Available online at http://pinyin.info/readings/texts/moser.html
  13. Nationalencyklopedin. (2010). Världens 100 största språk 2010. [The World’s 100 Largest Languages in 2010. Available online at www.ne.se/uppslagsverk/figur/tabell/världens-100-största-språk-2010
  14. Norman, J. (2014). Chinese writing: Traditions and transformations. Asia Society. Available online at http://asiasociety.org/china-learning-initiatives/chinese-writing
  15. Shen, H. H. (2005). Linguistic complexity and beginning-level L2 Chinese reading. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 40(3), 1–28.Google Scholar
  16. Shu, H., & Anderson, R. C. (1999). Learning to read Chinese: The development of metalinguistic awareness. In J. Wang, A. Inhoff, & H. C. Chen (Eds.), Reading Chinese script: A cognitive analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Shu, H., Chen, X., Anderson, R. C., Wu, N., & Xuan, Y. (2003). Properties of school Chinese: Implications for learning to read. Child Development, 74(1), 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Yin, B., & Rohsenow, J. S. (1994). Modern Chinese characters. Beijing, China: Sinolingua.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Akita International UniversityAkitaJapan

Personalised recommendations