ASPECTS OF THE CHINESE LANGAUGE
Aspects of the chinese language will offer a linguistic introduction to Chinese. No prior knowledge of linguistics is assumed although familiarity with linguistic analysis is a plus. The Chinese language is substantially different from English or other Indo-European languages. It is also distinct from some other East Asian languages. For instance, it has a logographic writing system and is a tonal language. Its word order is more flexible than English and is a topic-prominent language. It does not have rich grammatical inflections but has a limited number of aspectual markers. The course serves the following purposes: (1) introduce the basic facts of the Chinese language including its development, the phonology, morphology, the semantic and syntactic aspects of Mandarin Chinese, and the interactions of the language with Chinese culture and the society; (2) introduce elementary linguistic concepts relevant to Chinese to enable students to use the right tool to describe and critically analyze the features of a language; (3) encourage students to reflect on their language learning experience or knowledge of other languages to conduct reasoning, such as analyzing the sources of difficulty in their studying of Chinese; (4) to inspire interest in a range of topics including differences in modern and classical chinese, philosophical belief embodied in the language, Chinese culture manifested in the language (such as the notion of politeness, face, etc.), and to lay a foundation for further studies in linguistics as well as in those relevant topics.