CHINESE AND SOUTH-EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is aimed at the acquisition of the proficiency in Elementary Chinese language skills, both written and spoken. At the end of the course the student will
− acquire good capacity in the perception and production of Chinese phonological contrasts, both at the segmental and the tonal level.
− possess a good knowledge of noun and verbal phrase syntax.
− acquire capacity of comprehension and production, useful for managing information on quantification, space and time localization, needeed to perform primary communication functions;
− produce simple texts in written Chinese.
Course contents summary
- Typological description of Chinese with respect to the difference between inflectional and isolating languages. The writing system, its structural elements and its minimal unit, the hànzì. The national language, pŭtōnghuà, the standard transcription system, pīnyīn. The phonetic unit, convergence of syllable, grapheme and morpheme. The combination into lexical units. Chinese punctuation marks.
- Elements of phonology: the consonant and vowel system and the tonal inventory of Chinese.
- Morphology: phonetic loans, proper names and toponyms, free morphemes and bound morphemes. Elements of nominal morphology: the personal pronouns and the suffix men. The determining/determined relationship.
- Localization and Quantification. Time words and their syntactic construction. Introduction to time and space localization. Cardinal numbers, noun classifiers and auto-classifiers.
- Prepositional phrase: the notion of coverb, construction and usage of zài, gěi, yòng, duì, lí, cóng, dào.
- Noun-phrase construction: the structural particle de, head location and main constituents order.
- The topic-comment structure. Simple declarative sentences, verbal and nominal predicates. Interrogative constructions. Sentence-final particles: ma, ne and ba. Use and morphosyntactic features of question words. Adverbs and verb classifiers..
- Elements of verbal morphology: main stative verbs (copula, adjectival verbs and verbs of sentiment). Motion verbs and activity verbs. Serial verbs and pivotal constructions. Verbs followed by indefinite objects. The resultative complements: huì, hăo, wán. Usage of zài with positional and posture verbs. Double objects construction (with ditransitive verbs). Main modals in the domain of possibility. Usage of yào and xiăng. Introduction to the usage of temporal and aspectual markers, the sentence-final particle le, the futurity markers huì and yào.
– Introduction to written translation from Italian to Chinese and from Chinese to Italian.
– Introduction to dictation.
– Introduction to oral translation from Italian to Chinese and from Chinese to Italian. Oral exercise in phonetics and grammar.
Grammar content from: Clara Bulfoni, Sun Xiaoli, "Corso di lingua cinese elementare", 2012, Edizione Unicopli, Milano.
Unit 1: (1) simple declarative sentences: action verbs and adjectival verbs; (2) motion verbs; (3) interrogative particle 吗 ma; (4) adverbs/verb modifiers (5) the suffix 们 men; (6) the enumeration comma “、”; (7) proper names and toponyms.
Unit 2: (1) the noun predicate; (2) 是 shì “to be”; (3) “topic + comment” constructions; (4) time nouns (1); (5) ordinal number and “quasi-classifiers”; (6) days of the week; (7) numbers from 1 to 99; (8) the apposition; (9) the negation, (10) tonal sandhi.
Unit 3: (1) 有 yǒu “to have”/ “there is/are”; (2) interrogative particle 呢 ne; (3) A-not-A questions; (4) months; (5) date; (6) serial verbs constructions; (7) free and bound morphemes.
Unit 4: (1) noun classifiers; (2) 两 liǎng “two”; (3) question words; (4) tag questions; (5) asking the date; (6) what time is it?
Unit 5: (1) the locative verb: 在 zài; (2) the prepositional phrase; (3) the structural particle 的 de; (4) the delimitative aspect: the verbal classifier 一下儿 yíxià(r).
Unit 6: (1) time phrases (2); (2) expressing the age; (3) idiomatic expressions.
Unit 7: (1) the sentence-final and the perfective aspect particle 了 le; (2) separable verb-object compounds; (3) 喜欢 xǐhuan “to like”; (4) preffix 第 dì.
Unit 8: (1) the resultative complement; (2) modal verbs of possibility; (3) locative phrases; (4); double objects construction (with ditransitive verbs).
Lectures and practical exercises, aimed at the enhancement of i) grammar rules usage and ii) Chinese phonology perception and production. Much attention will be paid at the contrastive analysis with Italian and English grammar.
Assessment methods and criteria
Assessment is by final written and oral examinations:
- Chinese character recognition test and pīnyīn transcription (lexical assessment);
- Reordering test (syntactic assessment);
- Brief translation from Italian into Chinese (grammar and lexical assessment).
Vocabulary not allowed.
Student must be able to sustain a brief conversation on everyday topics. Moreover he must be able to read and translate a Chinese text, to analyze the syntact structure, using the relevant linguistic terminology apprehended during the course.