”@ ~ About Your Report ~


*REPORT TOPICS (Click to get the description!)

Mandarin sounds in the mouths of nonnative speakers
”@Alternative topic


”@”@”@ What is the topic or question that was investigated?
”@”@”@ Brief summary of background information on the topic

”@”@”@ Explain carefully and clearly how you collected data; include all materials (such as questionnaires, tests, instructions”@
”@”@”@ to subjects)

Findings (Results)”@
”@”@”@ Complete and explicit findings/results
”@”@”@ Any figures (tables or graphs; see MLA for format)

Discussion (of findings/results)”@
”@”@”@ Interpretation (in relation to what we have studied, and to the introduction); alternative interpretations
”@”@”@ Problems you met in your investigation


Works Cited”@
”@”@”@ For Nash and Yule

”@”@”@ Some material from Design and from Findings may be too long to include in the text of the report

[Back to Top]


PAUSES - - - - -
”@”@”@ For this project you will investigate pauses and related phenomena in English and Mandarin (and Taiwanese and . . . ?). You will need to tape-record and transcribe conversations. You should look at the following things:
”@”@”@ 1. Pauses:
”@”@”@”@”@”@A. the silences in one person's speech
”@”@”@”@”@”@B. the silences between the speech of two or more people in a conversation
”@”@”@ Of particular interest is the length of pauses, so you will need to time pauses in the conversations you record. You might also look at the frequency of pauses. Do English and Chinese speakers pause for about the same length of time? Does one group pause more frequently than the other? When, at what points in sentences (in the structure of sentences), do people typically pause?
”@”@”@ 2. "Filled pauses":
”@”@”@”@ Sometimes pauses are filled by sounds, such as uh, um, and oh, or by words like well and say.”@ Find examples of such filled pauses. What are the functions of these sounds and words? Are the sounds used to fill pauses the same in English and Mandarin? In Mandarin and Taiwanese? (And in Cantonese and in . . . ?).
”@”@”@ 3. Overlap:
”@”@”@”@Do people sometimes talk at the same time? How long does it last? How do English and Chinese compare in this respect?
”@”@”@”@You want to record natural conversations, of course. If you have trouble doing so, you might try recording conversations among several classmates (you don't want them to know that you are interested in pauses), your own group discussions about this project (or about other class assignments), student-teacher conversations (for examples of native English), and your own conversations with friends (it is best if they last long enough so that you forget about the recording and converse freely).
[Back to Top]

GESTURES - - - - -
”@”@”@ The textbook says that language is accompanied by gestures, and some linguists claim that gestures are part of language. For this project, you will need to observe people speaking and gesturing. From your observations, try to figure out how gestures and spoken language are related.
”@”@”@ Are gestures necessary for spoken language?”@”@ Can people speak without using any gestures?
”@”@”@ What functions do gestures have?
”@”@”@ Why do people gesture?
”@”@”@ When, in relation to spoken language, do gestures occur?”@ Is there any relationship between when gestures occur and the structure of the spoken language?
”@”@”@How do the meanings communicated by the spoken language and the gesture(s) relate to each other?”@ Are there different types of gestures? (Consider gestures which may be instinctive, and others which may be learned. Also consider gestures which may function like words, such as the "come here" gesture, and others which may be directly representative, such as making a circle with your friends to indicate "circle.")
”@”@”@ For your report you may use drawings, photographs, and descriptions to illustrate gestures. To gather data you might observe people all around you speaking and gesturing in natural situations, and you could also do more controlled observation, for instance, asking people to watch a short cartoon and then retell the story from the cartoon, as you observe (without telling them) their spoken language and gestures.

[Back to Top]

”@”@”@ In Chapter Four it is mentioned that English /r/ and /l/ can be difficult sounds for Chinese speakers. Anyone who learns another language is bound to have some trouble with sounds. For this project you will investigate what Mandarin sounds are difficult for nonnative speakers. (You may investigate speakers of any language learning Mandarin.) Try to come up with an explanation of why some sounds are difficult, and if possible, recommend teaching methods that might help nonnative speakers avoid or overcome problems with those sounds. In your project do not concern yourselves with tone, as it is already widely recognized as a problem for nonnative speakers learning Mandarin. Concentrate on individual sounds and combinations of sounds.
”@”@”@ A good place to begin would be with the charts of English and Mandarin consonants and vowels in Chapter Four. Record nonnative speakers speaking Mandarin.

*Or Taiwanese sounds (then you would need to look up descriptions of Taiwanese consonants and vowels similar to those for Mandarin in the textbook).

[Back to Top]

”@”@”@ For this project your job is to try to figure out how people end conversations on the telephone in Taiwan. Do they just say goodbye and hang up? Probably it is more complicated than that. How do they "agree" that the conversation is ready to end? How many speaking turns does it usually take to end the conversation? What do people really say to end telephone conversations? Is the relationship between the speakers a factor? What other factors (e.g., topic) might influence how the conversation ends?
”@”@”@ To investigate telephone closings you will probably have to listen to many telephone conversations and observe how the speakers bring them to an end and finally hang up the receiver. If you tape-record telephone calls, be sure you do not invade the privacy of others. You could ask their permission to tape-record them on the telephone for your linguistics project, and then afterwards tell them that you are studying telephone closings. If you tell them beforehand, they may pay too much attention to how they end the conversation, and thus give you unnatural data. You might also ask other students to work with you, and have them call each other and let you listen in. Again, only tell them later that you are interested in the closings.
”@”@”@ When we cover Sociolinguistics in class there will be a lecture on telephone openings, how people begin conversations on the telephone. However, if you wait for this lecture before you begin your own investigations, it will be too late. If you want to know about the content of this lecture in order to have a better idea about what to look for in telephone closings, make an appointment to talk to the teacher soon.

[Back to Top]

”@”@”@ What do you call it nihongo de? (What do you call it in Japanese?)
”@”@”@ Only small prizes moratta ne. (We got only small prizes, you know.)
”@”@”@ Camp-seikatsu ga made him rough. (The camp life made him rough.)

”@”@”@ We've got . . . all these kids here right now. Los que estan ya criados aqui, no los que recien venidos de Mexico. They all understood English. (Those that have been born here, not the ones that have just arrived from Mexico.)

”@”@”@ Father: Como sabes todo eso? (How do you know all that?)
”@”@”@ Son: Porque si . . . soy astuto. (Just because . . . I'm astute.)
”@”@”@ Father: Que es eso? (What is that?)
”@”@”@ Son: Astute.
”@”@”@ Father: Si, pero que significa? (Yes, but what does it mean?)
”@”@”@ Son: Bright, smart . . . and sneaky.

”@”@”@ Here you have some examples first of code-mixing, or changing codes within a sentence-and then of code-switching, or changing codes between sentences or across turns in a conversation. (In the first three examples the other language is Japanese; in the remaining examples it is Spanish.)
”@”@”@ For this project you need to collect your own examples like the ones above from real conversations. Then analyze your data in the light of questions we could ask about code-switching and code-mixing, such as
”@”@”@Why do people change codes when they speak? Who does this? Under what circumstances do they do this? What factors are relevant to switching and mixing (e.g., fluency in the codes used,”@ relationship between the speakers, formality or informality of the situation, the topic of conversation, age, gender)? How do the two codes fit together grammatically? How do people” feel about code-switching and mixing?

”@”@”@ You might want to record your examples. It should not be difficult to find examples. Everyday I hear people switching back and forth between Mandarin and Taiwanese, and between Mandarin and English. Listen to your classmates and teachers, family and friends; eavesdrop while you're on the bus; go places where you think code-switching might occur. Students talking to foreign teachers who they know understand Mandarin often go back and forth between English and Mandarin; people who work in import-export companies frequently use a lot of English words (an example I heard recently: "¦ŃĮó·|§ā§Afire±¼. " "No, no, I don't think so. „L¤£·|."); young, educated speakers of Taiwanese sometimes mix a good deal of Mandarin into their Taiwanese (at least according to my casual observations-see what you find out).

[Back to Top]

ALTERNATIVE TOPIC: Answering machine messages - - - - -
”@”@”@ What do people say when they leave messages on an answering machine? Is the way they speak different in any way from how they speak in face-to-face conversations, or in telephone conversations when there is another speaker on the other end of the line?