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Title:Pragmatic and cultural information in a Chinese-English learner's dictionary
Author(s):Tseng, Tai-Yuan Hugo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cheng, Chin-Chuan
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Abstract:The number of students learning Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) has shown a steady and substantial increase over the past few decades. However, the CFL students who choose to use Chinese-English dictionaries have relied on inadequate tools, inasmuch as these tools are either geared toward Chinese speakers, or designed for non-Chinese but long out of date. This dissertation, by addressing some of the lexicographical issues surrounding the inadequacy of presently available bilingual dictionaries, seeks to serve as a steppingstone to a long-term goal of producing a state-of-the-art Chinese-English dictionary for this CFL population.
Learning a foreign language is a process of approximating the target-language speakers' communicative competence. This communicative competence consists of three components, namely grammatical, pragmatic, and cultural competence. It follows that, theoretically, an adequate learner's dictionary should commit itself to the simulation of this communicative competence. In practice, however, only one component thereof--grammatical competence--has held the focus of attention, while the other two--pragmatic and cultural competence--have been neglected. This bias is shared by many bilingual dictionaries, and Chinese-English dictionaries are no exception.
The lack of pragmatic competence can cause miscommunication, which may pass unnoticed in intercultural exchanges but nevertheless exacerbate racial and ethnic stereotypes. The lack of cultural competence can further cause noncommunication, in which linguistic structures may be understood but the cultural implications are never grasped. This dissertation concentrates on contrasting Chinese with English in these two neglected areas, and presents the contrasts in the form of dictionary entries.
The significance of this dissertation is its contribution to the theory of learners' dictionaries and its exploration of the field of Chinese-English contrastive analysis from a different perspective. Its practical application can also benefit those CFL students by guiding lexicographers in their choice of materials to include in bilingual dictionaries that go beyond mere grammatical competence.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Tseng, Tai-Yuan Hugo
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702692
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702692

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