Dr. Chingya CHAO received her doctoral degree in linguistics at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan in 2009. She started her teaching career as an assistant professor in the Department of Chinese and the Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Her current research interests are in the areas of linguistics and cross-cultural competence in CSL/CFL Teacher Education.
Topic: Chinese Word Sketches and Near-Synonyms
Interjections in L2 Chinese teaching and learning is an extremely important topic. Some scholars argue that interjections should be dealt with in L2 instruction at the CEFR C1 level, at which language learners can handle interjection well, responding spontaneously and almost effortlessly. But L2 instruction includes two important phases, i.e., comprehension and production. Comprehension of interjections at C1 level may be workable, but not production. Besides, some linguists treat interjections (and sentence-final particles) as a sub-language of their own. Thus, what is the status of these sub-languages within the framework of L2 instruction? Are they dealt with at the level of C1? Thirdly, the past studies of modern Chinese interjections have been severely hampered by Chinese characters. They do not reflect the real language, neither phonetically nor pragmatically. For example, the most talked about interjection a (啊) can be pronounced variously either segmentally or supra-segmentally. Thus, there are references in which it can further be represented as ah-1, ah-2, ah-3 etc. This paper will explore these issues and illustrate how Chinese Word Sketch can help distinguish the synonyms for interjection and their subtle differences.