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Common language differences between English and Chinese that international student should know

Written By Albert Barkley on Friday, 2 November 2018 | 21:58

Northern Chinese, also known as Mandarin, is the mother tongue of about 70 % of Chinese speakers and is the accepted written language for all Chinese. Belonging to two different language families, English and Chinese have many significant differences. English is a West Germanic language. Here are common differences between the English language and Chinese language that international student should know. 


Alphabet:

The alphabet is a common difference between the English language and the Chinese language. Chinese does not have an alphabet while English has an alphabet. Chinese uses a logographic system for its written language. In a logographic system, symbols represent the words themselves. Words do not make various letters as in alphabetic systems. Because of this common difference, international students may have great difficulty reading English text and spelling words correctly.

Pinyin:

Pinyin is another common difference between English language and Chinese. Pinyin uses to help school children learn to pronounce the Chinese words. Pinyin literally means, “Spelled –out sound” and uses the Roman alphabet to represent those sounds. However, this system creates a problem for Chinese learning English and for westerns learning Chinese.

Phonology:

Phonology is the study of speech sounds. Phonology is another common difference between English language and Chinese language. English phonological system is different from the Chinese system. Some English phonemes do not exist in the Chinese language. A phoneme is the smallest significant unit of any language. Unlike English, Chinese is a tone language. There is also a difference between stress and intonation. In English, pitch uses to emphasize importance or express emotion, not to give a different meaning to the words because of the sound.

Difference between vowel and consonant sounds:

English has more vowel sounds than Chinese sounds. The pronunciation of vowel sound is also different from the Chinese language like ship/sheep, it / eat, full / fool. A major problem is the common final consonant in English. This feature is much less frequent in the Chinese language.

Grammar – verb:

In English, much information gives the use of auxiliaries and by verb inflexions: is/are/were, eat/eats/ate/eaten, etc. Chinese, on the other hand, is an uninflected language and conveys meaning through word order, adverbials, or shared understanding of the context. In the Chinese language, tenses do not handle the concept of time. In the English language, tenses handle the concept of time.

Model verb:

English commonly expresses shades of meaning with model verbs while the Chinese language does not express shades of meaning with modal verbs. Think for example of the increasing degree of politeness of the following instructions:

Open the window, please.

Could you open the window, please?

Would you mind opening the window, please?

Chinese model verbs do not convey a wide range of meaning while the English model verbs present a wide range of meanings. Chinese does not have articles, so difficulties with their correct use in English are very common. English has a number of short verbs. This kind of lexical verb does not exist in Chinese.

For getting more information about academic writing on different languages, you can contact academic writing services.
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