01:165:210 The Chinese Language: Description and History

This is a general lecture course about the Chinese language. No previous knowledge of Chinese is required. However, students without a background in Chinese are strongly encouraged to also take a Chinese language course. Whether or not you do study Chinese, you should be prepared to learn much of the Chinese that is presented as examples in the lectures and readings.

During the course we will discuss the sounds and word structure of modern standard Chinese, the history of Chinese, the Chinese writing system, Chinese dialects, the relationship of Chinese to its neighboring languages, language in Chinese society, and modern language planning, reform, and standardization. In learning about the characteristics of Chinese and the history of the language, you will acquire a knowledge of what the Chinese language is like and how it is organized and used by its speakers. Through our examination of this language, you will develop a deeper knowledge of the nature of human languages in general and an understanding of the speakers of the languages of China and elsewhere. This knowledge will enhance your interest in and facilitate your learning of Chinese language, culture, literature, and history, should you choose to study them now or in the future.

Course Materials: Chen, Ping. Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999., Norman, Jerry. Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, Sun Chaofen. Chinese: A Linguistic Description. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Grading: Attendance and participation 10%, Quizzes 15%, Group Project 30% (Presentation 10% and Written Report 20%), Midterm Exam 20%, Final Exam 25%

Students are expected to attend all classes. If you expect to miss one or two classes, please use the University absence reporting website https://sims.rutgers.edu/ssra/ to indicate the date and reason for your absence. Beginning with the 2 second class you miss, your final grade will be lowered by 1/3 of a grade for each day you are absent without bona fide medical or religious cause that was not reported at the University absence reporting website https://sims.rutgers.edu/ssra/.

Through the semester, you will have three short quizzes and two exams. Most of the questions in the quizzes and exams will be based on reading assignments or classroom lectures.

You will be required to do a group project that will be presented near the end of the semester. Each group member will be given 5-10 minutes for his or her presentation (for example, a 3 person group will have up to half an hour). The presentation will include a written report that the group should write together. Reports should be 4-6 double-spaced pages per person and will be due on the day indicated in the syllabus. The report must follow normal conventions of style for college term papers and must include a bibliography. Your reports should cite at least 3 non-Internet sources. If Internet sources are also used, you can only cite facts they contain or paraphrase their arguments. All sources must be properly documented. You may be creative with your group projects: they may be on a topic or theme regarding any aspect of Chinese language that is of common interest to the group.