Monday, September 10, 2012

What Linguistic Features of CE have been 'claimed' in the Literature?

It's easy to complain that most people are operating with an unclear definition of Chinese English, but what have people actually claimed in the literature as empirical features of CE? Leaving aside discourse, which is a big one in itself, here's what I'm seeing.



1. Loanwords via transliteration of Chinese words
2. Loanwords via direct translation of Chinese terms
3. Semantic shift - word's meaning changes due to cultural context (many types mentioned by Xu)
4. Direct translation of Chinese idioms/chengyu (may be grammatical ...or 'weird?')

From the literature:
- Political terms (running dog, capitalist roader
- Standardized English translations of official slogans
- semantic shifts -- propaganda ('bad' in AmE, 'good' in CE)
- some Chinese idioms 
[Cheng 1992]
- loan translations (special economic zone)
- semantic shift (peasant = good, intellectual = bad)
[Gao 2001]
- loan words (baozi, mantou)
- loan translations (red envelope)
[Yang 2005]
- borrowings (same as loan words above) from various Chinese dialects
[Yang 2009]
- "Chinglish" idioms widely recognized (good good study, day day up)
[Fang 2008]
- Chinese loanwords (ginseng, feng shui) 
 - loan translations (paper tiger, Cultural Revolution)
-- standing LWs (tai chi) vs ad hoc loanwords (standing LWs probably begin as ad hoc LWs)
- 'nativized English words whose original meanings in ENglish have relation to the sociolx contexts of China' (p 35) - aka semantic shift
INCLUDES: semantic broadening (play), semantic narrowing (acheivement = grade in school), pejoration (copy = piracy), amelioration ('upgrading' a word -- fixed = reliable), semantic change (open = turn on), "haphazard use of hyponyms" (hard to tell if this is on purpose or not)
[Xu 2010]


Not a lot out there done from a WEs perspective, but we could probably get something from CR if we wanted. Xu offers:

(from spoken discourse)

1. Adjacent default tense (yesterday I write a letter)
2. Null subject/object utterances (sometimes just play basketball)
3. Co-occurrence of connective pairs (because I X, so I Y)
4. subject pronoun copying (my mother she..., the building it...)
5. yes-no response (you don't like sports? yeah (i don't))
6. topic-comment (Cigars, the president never smokes them; Beijing...there are many old buildings)
7. unmarked OSV(other jobs I want to try; both languages I can't speak well)
8. inversion in subordinate finite wh-clauses (I don't know what should I learn)

(from newspapers)

9. Nominalization (there are a lot of specific things here that I need to take more time to read)
10. Multiple-coordinate construction (done with 'Chinese pragmatic motivations') (p. 92 - not unique to CE, but still a feature of CE for cultural/pragmatic reasons -- like 'the three represents)
11. Modifying-modified sequence (preference for forward-linking, subordinate clauses first)
12. Use of imperatives (in Ha Jin -- doesn't seem that unique to me, but he makes a good argument on p 102)
13. Tag variation (varying tag Qs, like Chinese)

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