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Unformatted text preview: 1. The Chinese Language I. Spoken Chinese (monosyllabic base, tones, no inflection) • Sino-Tibetan language family (Sino = Chinese) • Ancient Chinese language features 1. Monosyllabic base (a, zhang, etc.) • most words are single syllables; exceptions are usually repeated sound effects or borrowed words from other languages, etc. • modern Chinese language—combine two monosyllabic words to form a new meaning (ex. dian + shi = lightning + to look at = television) o other cultures used transliteration (“terebision” = television) 2. Tones (4 pitches) • changing the tone/musical pitch changes the meaning • same pitch: (ma¯ = mother) • rising pitch: (ma/ = numb) • down then up (ma ✔ = horse) • down pitch: (ma\ = scold) • neutral tone (question-like) 3. No inflection • Basic structure of word doesn’t change according to its grammatical function (English: “add –s to everything to pluralize” but man -> men and woman -> women) • Context indicates if a noun is plural (exception: sometimes they add suffix “mun” as in “wo mun”)...
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- Fall '10
- chinese written language, Sino-Tibetan language family, modern Chinese language, Chinese Language I.