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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 languagecombine 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 doesnt 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