Speculative fiction writer, translator, and editor



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芜湖语 Wuhu Dialect

Presentation containing fieldwork analyzing phonology and tone contours of Wuhu Mandarin.

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Field Language Report: Anhui Feixi Mandarin

For my field language report, I investigated a dialect of Chinese spoken in Feixi County, China. This dialect is similar to a number of other Chinese dialects, and the final consonant inventory that I derived does align with that of other Chinese dialects, including Mandarin.

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漢字是一個很複雜的系統,一直存在簡化的現象。漢字的筆畫很多,用楷書來寫 漢字又慢又麻煩。因此,中國人也有別的寫法:行書和草書。用行書和草書寫漢字, 字體寫得不清楚,但是別人還是看得懂。行書和草書,特別是行書的發展過程中產生 了漢字的「俗體」。古代的時候,俗體常常是統一漢字的基礎;20 世紀漢字簡化的時 候,俗體也是簡化漢字的基礎。

雖然漢字一直存在簡化的現象,但是漢字最大規模的簡化是 20 世紀開始的。1909 年已經開始有人鼓吹漢字的簡化,但是真正的簡化是 1950 年開始的。漢字簡化的主要 原因是讓漢字更容易寫、學、讀。1964 年,中國政府的文改委出版了《簡化字總表》, 一共簡化了 2236 字。

中國大陸和新加坡兩個國家同時簡化了漢字,新加坡的簡化漢字最後跟大陸的一 樣。目前的情況是中國大陸和新加坡兩個國家使用的漢字是簡體字,但是台灣、香 港、澳門使用的是繁體字。在別的國家的華裔也常常使用的是繁體字,特別是在美國 的華裔,因為最早的中國移民是香港和台灣的。使用簡體漢字的大陸中國人後來開始 移民到別的國家,但是繁體字還是比較流行。

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A decade later: Singapore’s Speak Good English Movement

I approached my field research, then, with an exploratory perspective: Are the opinions as seen in the press representative of the opinions of the average Singaporean? How aware is the average Singaporean of the SGEM? What is the average Singaporean’s views towards the roles of English and Singlish in Singapore, and do these correspond with the government’s views on language? Is the debate about English and Singlish as fiery as it seems from the academic and media perspectives?

My interviews showed that the typical Singaporean (a term which is in itself very vague, and which I will discuss in my demographics section) is not as aware of the SGEM as previous research has assumed, but that, regardless, their opinion of the importance of Standard English in Singapore aligns closely to that of the government’s. The typical Singaporean also sees Singlish as important to Singaporean identity, in that it is a phe- nomenon unique to Singapore and therefore important for differentiating Singaporeans from other nations. I will then discuss these responses and locate Singlish in more detail in the Singaporean identity, as well as discuss current and potentially future shifts within the ideology of the SGEM as well as the government’s approach to English and Singlish.

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“Well, I think that…”: A Conversation Analysis approach to discourse in the classroom

Cameron notes in Working with Spoken Discourse that discourse analysts often privilege everyday conversations as being the most “natural”, thus marking structured conversation as being “unnatural” and therefore less valid (Cameron 20). The idea of the ordinary and the mundane being the more “natural” also takes hold in sociolinguistics, particularly in Labovian sociolinguistics, in which the vernacular is privileged in a similar way as being the most “natural” form of speech and the most valid for study. However, Cameron challenges this assumption, noting that “[a]ll talk is shaped by the context in which it is produced,” (Cameron 20), thus making all talk valid for study and analysis of the various factors that shape talk. Based on Cameron’s argument, I decided to analyze the discourse of classroom discussion and uncover the means by which turn-taking is negotiated, and the means by which students introduce information whose accuracy may be questioned into a discussion.

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