Slide 1

Issues in Compiling Shengcibiao
Liwei Gao
Importance of an Effective Shengcibiao
Facilitate an accurate understanding of the
word meaning in target language (TL)
Facilitate rapid acquisition of new words
Facilitate accurate learning of TL grammar
Facilitate correct use of TL
II. Aspects of an Effective Shengcibiao
• Part of speech (PoC)or no PoC?
PoC helps students produce grammatical
* 我喜欢中国饭,也我喜欢日本饭。
• PoC may have to be decided in context
(multiple PoC’s of one word): relatively poor
Chinese morphology (inflectional)
e.g., i. 留得青山在,不怕没柴烧。(v.)
ii. 事情发生在去年。 (prep.)
iii. 风在刮,雨在下。(adv.)
iv. 钱我给他了。(v.)
v. 狗给人偷了。(prep.)
vi. 护士给他量了量血压。(prep.)
• PoC is not always decided based on literal
meaning in English.
e.g., i. 两国之间建立起了牢不可破的友谊。
(之间 means ‘among, between’, but it’s
a noun here, not a preposition)
ii. 以前王老师在大庆工作过。
(以前means ‘before’, but it’s a noun
here, not an adverb.)
• Example usages or no example usages?
(should be included to minimize negative first
language transfer)
* 他的目很大。
* 我们去了一家很吃香的饭店吃饭。
* 我弟弟有樱桃小嘴。
* 我朋友上周末参观了我。
* 我每天晚上学习三个半点钟。
• Phrases to be included or not?
* 我爸爸不喝滴酒。(滴酒不沾)
* 独立日我们邀请了亲朋来我们家烤肉。
* 飞机场工作人帮我们找到了我们的行李。
• Grammar note or no grammar note?
* 李大为回去老家了。
* 他是韩国人和他也是美国人。
* 毕业以后我打算结婚我的女朋友。
• Many or one definition?
-- Too many definitions can be confusing,
particularly to beginners;
-- If more than one definition has to be
provided, the order of definitions given should
not be random.
• English translation
-- Should match TL as closely as possible, not
only in terms of general meaning but also
grammatical features (e.g., transitivity),
domain of usage, etc. E.g., 见面:meet/see
someone 漂亮:beautiful
-- For non-beginners, definition in TL
should be given. E.g., 感到:觉得
• Proper nouns (PN) listed separately or not?
-- Students, particularly beginners, often have
a hard time recognizing PN’s.
-- Listing PN’s separately can give students the
wrong impression that they are unimportant.
-- Teaching PN’s explicitly not only enlarges
students’ vocab but teach them culture
at the same time.
• Pinyin transcription standardized or not?
-- Spacing
e.g., 成语, 短语,专有名词: shǒu zhū dài tù,
nào yìjiàn, Wǔsì Qīngnián Jié
-- Capitalization
e.g.,专有名词: Xiānggǎng Zhōngwén Dàxué
-- Tone marking
e.g., neutral tone, tone sandhi: xiǎojiě
(not xiǎojie/xiáojiě), yīdìng (not yídìng)
III. Examples of an Ideal Shengcibiao
签字/簽字 qiānzì n./v. (v.o.) signature;
to sign one’s name 签字后合同就生效了。
2. 和 hé conj. and (not connecting clauses)
(跟;与) 小王和小张都在这儿工作。
3. 如果 conj. if (not meaning ‘whether’) (要
是) 如果今天不下雨,我们去郊外野餐吧?
IV. Concluding remarks
-- Thoroughly annotated shēngcíbiǎo helps
students in their ACCURATE mastery and use
of TL, which in turn helps improve their
-- Over-simplified shēngcíbiǎo may have
unfavorable consequences (e.g., grammatical
errors associated with L1 interference.)
V. Selected references
Li, Charles, & Sandra Thompson. Mandarin Chinese: a
functional reference grammar. Berkely: University of
California Press.
Wang, Jenney. 2003. Word structure and how it
matters in grammar. Paper presented at the annual
CLTA/ACTFL meeting.
Zha, Xinha. 2007. Can a Chinese double-syllable verbobject structure followed by another? Paper
presented at the annual CLTA/ACTFL meeting.