ERIC Number: ED239513
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Malapropism as a Complicating Factor in the Teaching of Written Chinese.
Hsueh, F. S.
Common problems encountered in teaching Chinese that involve classical, intentional malapropisms (learned errors) are discussed. Three aspects unique to Chinese are addressed: (1) since Chinese writing is logographic, some malapropisms occur because of similar graphs; (2) since many expressions come from classical Chinese, and instruction in classical Chinese has decreased considerably, even competent writers may use inappropriate characters to represent classical expressions; and (3) due to obscure origins of some modern expressions, they may be represented arbitrarily by characters unrelated to their original meaning. In the last case, American students using the dictionary for every unknown character may become very confused. A variety of expressions and their written forms, divided into types, are listed. Although no clear, specific short-cut is available for learning the expressions, the teacher is reminded to be aware of the potential for confusion and the essential role of classical Chinese in the reading of vernacular Chinese. It is suggested that when encountering a confusing character, one should: replace it with a character that looks like it to see if it makes sense, replace it with a charater that sounds like it to see if it makes sense, or try to interpret the unit in which it appears, as a whole. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (San Francisco, CA, November 24-26, 1983).