Eng · 繁體 · 简体

News & Events

 News & Events Home
 News and Events Archive
The Implications of Mismatched Personal Pronouns in Chinese
Jump To:
Topic:  The Implications of Mismatched Personal Pronouns in Chinese
posted itemPosted - 23/05/2001 :  09:56:47
Department of Chinese, Translation & Linguistics & Institute of Chinese Linguistics Summer Seminar Series on Chinese Linguistics (1) The Implications of Mismatched Personal Pronouns in Chinese By: Dr. LEE Cher Leng National University of Singapore Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 noon Date: Wednesday, 06 June 2001 Venue: Lecture Theatre P4801, Academic Building, CityU Abstract: This seminar examines the phenomenon of variation of number in Chinese pronouns. The data used for analysis is the eighteenth century classic Chinese novel Hong Lou Meng (Dream of the Red Chamber). Research on Indo-European pronouns has shown that variation of number is the most widespread phenomenon to convey degrees of respect or social distance. This social meaning conveyed through variation of number in pronouns has not been studied in Chinese. The data from the novel shows that there are plural pronouns referring to singular individuals and vice versa. Although in most languages, non-singularity indicates respect and politeness, it is the contrary in Chinese. An individual of inferior social status uses the plural first person pronoun for self-reference when conversing with someone of superior social status. The plural pronoun used by the inferior individual conveys humility. On the other hand, individuals of superior social status use the second or third person singular pronouns to refer to a group of individuals of inferior status. The superior individuals view the group of inferior individuals as negligible and therefore refer to them using the singular. It is evident that social meaning is conveyed through the variation in the numbers of Chinese pronouns. About the Speaker: LEE Cher Leng holds a PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore where she teaches courses in discourse analysis, pragmatics, rhetoric and translation. Her current research interests include code-switching and discourse analysis. Among her recent publications are Zero Anaphora in Chinese (1995, Crane Publishing Co.), her co-authored chapter "Written discourse segmentation: the function of unstressed pronouns in Mandarin Chinese" published in Reference and Referent Accessibility, edited by T. Fretheim and J. K. Gundel (1996), and another co-authored paper "Locality constraints on yes/no questions in Singapore Teochew" published in Journal of East Asian Linguistics 6, 189-211. Enquiries: 2788-8705 ___________________ All are welcome! ____________________


Enquiry: LTenquiry@cityu.edu.hk