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Teaching and Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

A Pedagogical Grammar

Janet Zhiqun Xing

Publication Year: 2006

This book provides a research-based account of how to teach and learn Chinese as a foreign language.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. iv


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pp. v-vii

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pp. ix-x

Teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign language (FL) has recently drawn much attention from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Due to the unique linguistic characteristics of the Chinese language, its acquisition exerts difficulty on some occasions as well as excitement on others. In this book, I have attempted to focus on content and methodology that may not only help to ease the difficulty in understanding the Chinese language and reduce the pain in both teaching and learning Chinese, but at the same time generate some excitement in pursuing the language. ...

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1. Preliminaries

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pp. 1-27

This book is designed to help teachers and students of the Chinese language learn the most recent developments in teaching and learning Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language (henceforth FL). More specifically, it discusses the theoretical models developed for Chinese language pedagogy and acquisition,1 provides theoretical grounds for selecting teaching materials, and proposes applicable methodology for teaching and learning Chinese. For classroom activities, it demonstrates procedures for teaching and acquiring the five identified content areas: pronunciation, characters and words, sentences, discourse, and culture. ...

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2. Pedagogical Grammar of Chinese: Content

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pp. 29-59

It was discussed in Chapter 1 that Chinese grammar differs from pedagogical grammar in that the former focuses on all rules of a language, whereas the latter refers to what and how teachers might teach students of Chinese as a foreign language (FL). Even though traditional understanding of Chinese grammar is limited to rules relevant to words and sentence structures, it does not mean that pedagogical grammar should follow that tradition. ...

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3. Methodology

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pp. 61-86

The methodology1 of teaching and learning has been referred to as the pedagogical process (cf. Little 1994: 99), separate from pedagogical content as discussed in Chapter 2. Because of the importance of the pedagogical process, a number of approaches have been generated over the last several decades, among them grammar-translation, audio-lingual, communicative, functional-notional, and proficiency...

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4. Pronunciation

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pp. 87-99

Tone (声调, shēngdiào) is one of the two most distinctive features separating Chinese from Indo-European and many other languages in the world (the other feature is the writing system to be discussed in Chapter 5). Every Chinese character has a tone and every tone is built in lexicon, which means tone affects the meaning of words. Because of this property, Chinese tones have attracted not only numerous linguists and Chinese philologists to investigate their characteristics and functions ...

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5. Characters and Words

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pp. 101-132

Chinese characters, also known as hànzì (汉字 ), is the writing form of the Chinese language. Lexicographers refer to Chinese characters as logographic writing, categorically different from alphabetical writing, in that Chinese characters are derived from graphs whereas alphabetical writing, such as Latin and Greek, are derived from syllables. Due to this difference, there has been much discussion in the past regarding the properties of Chinese characters and their acquisition. ...

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6. Sentences

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pp. 133-164

Western linguists and Chinese grammarians, regardless of their theoretical preference, generally agree that the sentence is the basic unit for studying a language. Sapir (1949a: 33) considers a sentence the “primary functional unit of speech and esthetically satisfying embodiment of a unified thought.” Chao (2001[1968]: 41) points out that a sentence is the major language unit for grammatical analysis. ...

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7. Discourse and Pragmatics

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pp. 165-235

Among numerous attempts made by researchers of different backgrounds and disciplines, the simplest definition of discourse regards discourse as a communicative unit consisting of at least two or more sentences (cf. Hymes 1974, Stubbs 1983, van Dijk 1985, Crystal 1985, Schiffrin 1994). This is a rather narrow and perhaps a slightly simplified notion of discourse. Nevertheless, it is still practical and useful for teachers and students of foreign languages, though some linguists may prefer a general and broad definition such as the one given by Blakemore...

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8. Culture in Teaching and Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

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pp. 237-263

Culture has been a subject of discussion among researchers in the field of humanities and social sciences for centuries, yet for laypeople and even some college language teachers, it is still an abstract concept, difficult to pin down. Examining the definitions of culture in literature, we find that there are numerous ways to define and describe this elusive concept. Sapir, widely believed to be America’s most brilliant anthropologist and linguist, defines culture in the following way...

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 265-273

As mentioned at the beginning, the primary goal of this book is to help teachers and students understand the theoretical and practical models in Chinese language pedagogy and acquisition. By the time readers reach this chapter, they may realize that some issues are considered conclusive, while many others remain open for further discussion or investigation. Chapter 2 and Chapters 4–8 have discussed substantially the content that students at different levels should learn in the Chinese language classroom and Chapters 3–8 have provided various teaching and learning methods based on reports of teachers’ experiences and the research of pedagogical specialists. ...

Appendix I

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pp. 275-277

Appendix II

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pp. 278-280

Appendix III

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pp. 281

Appendix IV

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pp. 282-284

Appendix V

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pp. 285

Appendix VI

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pp. 286-287

Appendix VII

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pp. 288-289


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pp. 291-294


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pp. 295-318


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pp. 319-323

E-ISBN-13: 9789882203655
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622097629

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 19 b/w tables
Publication Year: 2006