ERIC Number: ED366215
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar-8
Universality vs. Particularity in Chinese Teaching and Testing.
It is proposed that in the teaching and testing of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL), emphasis should be placed on features that are universal to all languages rather than particular to Chinese. Shared properties of Chinese and other languages, particularly English, are illustrated through examination of three major language components: phonology, syntax, and semantics. In the realm of phonology, all languages share the same articulatory resources and all sounds can be assigned to 12 categories according to place of articulation. Even in categories traditionally recognized as unique to Chinese, uniqueness is partially exaggerated by spelling conventions. In syntax, Chinese and English share all major syntactic categories such as subject, predicate, object, attributive, adverbial, and complement, and only the rules of assembling the parts differ. With regard to semantics, most semantic features of most languages are similar; for example, all languages possess only three verb types: state, process, and action. It is further proposed that stressing universality in CFL will require: psychological preparation of students; use of old-new information theory in learning; presenting a fair picture of each language; focusing on oral communication; and de-emphasizing the particularity characteristic of research. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Pre-Georgetown University Roundtable on Languages and Linguistics meeting (Washington, DC, March 8, 1993).