Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

British English


NinjaTurtle
 Share

Recommended Posts

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

32 minutes ago, Zeppa said:

When you say you don't think the term is normal in BrE to refer to the Chinese ones, I don't understand. I thought you spoke American English.

 

Sorry for the confusion. I meant that I was assuming the word 'dumpling' in BrE wasn't also used to refer to the Chinese ones. Apparently it does. Thanks for that clarification.

 

'Dumplings' in American English

 

Slow-Cooker-Beef-Stroganoff-Show-Me-the-

 

In American English, dumplings are the flat, square-ish-shaped dough-based pieces of 'pastry' towards the side of the dish (as opposed to the chicken or whatever in the middle of the plate). In regards to 'Chinese dumplings' (饺子 jiǎozi), the American definition of dumpling only refers to the skin around the jiǎozi rather than the entire jiǎozi. In American English we do not use the word dumpling to refer to a ball of pastry-and-meat-or-whatever that is formed by hand into a ball and then cooked -- British dumplings.

 

By the way, I have had a great deal of difficulty finding the word for the 'skin' part of jiǎozi in Chinese. Does anyone know that word in Chinese?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

In British English, what is a "car" in a train called?

 

Normally we say coach (which coach are you in? I'm in coach 4 etc). But carriage and would be understood. Car sounds weird.

14 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

In British English, what is a "car" in a train called?

 

Normally we say coach (which coach are you in? I'm in coach 4 etc). But carriage and would be understood. Car sounds weird.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, imron said:

'Normal university' or 'normal school' is outdated and sounds silly - at least to my native speaker ears, and I'm not the only one because I've heard many separate native speakers make fun of that phrasing on many separate occasions.

 

You could argue about correctness and historical meanings or not, but when large numbers of native speakers are making fun of that usage, it's probably a good idea to consider changing that usage, and I guess that's what spurred so many 'normal' schools in English speaking countries to change their name.

 

The discussion was about whether it was Chinglish or not, which I think has been settled. Whether it sounds odd is something else. But the point is surely that it's a name. No one would say they went to "a normal school", just as someone who went to the RCA would never say they went to "a royal college", nor would a graduate of RADA say they went to "a royal academy", and an LSE grad is not likely to tell you they studied economics at "a school", etc etc. That was the point of mentioning MIT: these are proper nouns. 

 

And I'm not convinced that names should be changed just because some people find them odd (and in this instance have apparently never heard of l'École). Do you think we should stop referring to the parliamentary assembly of Japan as the 'diet', for example? Should the seat of the US Congress be changed from the Capitol to something else to avoid confusion?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/11/2018 at 10:29 AM, NinjaTurtle said:

They seem quite different from what are referred to as dumplings in America, and from what are called "dumplings" in China. Do you, a British-English speaker, see the use of the word "dumpling" to be quite normal in British English to refer to what are called "dumplings" in China. (I do not.)

I think you might be getting yourself a little mixed up. The dumplings in "chicken and dumplings" or other Southern US dumplings are more similar to British dumplings because they are both just dough simmered in broth.

 

I think if you are trying to claim that people in the US would not call 餃子 "dumplings," you are over superimposing your own regional dialect onto the entirety of the US. What are called "dumplings" in China are still called "dumplings" anywhere English is spoken. Just because dumplings can refer to dough globs does not mean dumplings doesn't also refer to 餃子、餛飩、小籠包 etc. Heck, even Italian tortellini are called dumplings (courtesy of your country's NPR) and so are Eastern European pierogies. And so are apparently a million other things (courtesy of the Washington Post).

 

Unfortunately the lack of creativity of English speakers when encountering new foods, coupled with the tendency to try to call everything by the name of something that already exists (no matter how different), has now resulted in your narrow conception of what "dumpling" means in American English being vastly outnumbered by the other possible meanings of the same word, in American English. Essentially English speakers have created a monster with this "dumpling" business and it's very unlikely you will ever be able to tame it. Sorry not sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dutch on the other hand does not have a word for any type of dumpling, be it pierogi, wonton, giuza or tortellini. We call them all by their original, foreign name, and people who have never heard of the specific food in question will have no idea what you mean. We sometimes outright borrow 'dumpling', but that is not helping either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Limo,

 

I have encountered students in China who only want to speak Chinglish and are offended when I tell them they must speak a standard form of English such as American English or British English. But this is the first time I have heard of an actual 'movement' to 'nominate' Chinglish to become an accepted, standard form of English. (But in the article seems to say there is only one person who is spearheading this 'movement'.)

 

But there is a much bigger problem. My students absolutely refuse to speak English with each other outside of class. There seems to be some kind of unspoken rule in China that forbids it. My students admit that if anyone heard them speaking English in the dorm, they would say they were 'weird'. (Does anyone on this forum know why?) It is a big problem that severely limits my students' ability to speak better English. I remember one time when a Chinese faculty member at my college attempted to speak to another Chinese faculty member in English. The second Chinese faculty member was horrified!

 

There seems to be a factor here that I can only describe as Chinese nationalism. I regularly ask my new students each semester why they don't speak English outside of class. One answer I hear often is, "Because I am Chinese!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, NinjaTurtle said:

I regularly ask my new students each semester why they don't speak English outside of class. One answer I hear often is, "Because I am Chinese!"

Sound logic, if you ask me. Ditto their remark about speaking English in the dorm being weird. 

 

When I was at school I studied several foreign languages but never, I think, spoke more than the odd word or phrase of a foreign language with my classmates. When penfriends from abroad came to stay with me, on the other hand, things were very different and I spoke lots of Franglais and wonky German, some of it deliberate, peppered with the odd bit of "correct", idiomatic stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

 

1 hour ago, NinjaTurtle said:

There seems to be a factor here that I can only describe as Chinese nationalism.

I'd say your by now very evident bête noire of Chinese nationalism has very little to do with this...or maybe I and all my classmates all those years ago were actually English nationalists,  but were just completely unaware of the fact.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Z,

 

OK, maybe it's not nationalism, but there is something different going on in China. When I was in college I studied Japanese. Sometimes I would hang out with a few people from class in the student union around lunch time. We said we would try to speak Japanese but, like you, we never really did. But there was never a sense that people walking by would think we were weird or crazy for speaking Japanese. No sense of "I don't speak Japanese because I'm American!" ( I really do have students who say they don't speak English outside of class "Because I'm Chinese!")

 

No, the situation in China is different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, good lord. Have you ever considered that your students don’t think about it as much as you do, and they definitely couldn’t be bothered to then explain to you their thoughts on the matter in English? Do you know what’s easier? “Because I’m Chinese.”

 

I received the same nonsense answers when I taught English in Japan. I can assure you the situation is not particularly exceptional in China, and you really just sound ignorant jumping to these bold conclusions based on faulty logic and half-truths.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really depends. I think a lot of people, no matter how motivated, are uncomfortable communicating in a language they're not fully fluent in.

 

To my mind, speaking English as a Chinese in China is not the same as speaking Japanese as an American (?) in the US. English holds a certain level of cultural cache that basically no other language does, it's not that people would think they were weird, I suspect people would think they were being incredibly pretentious. Remember these students all have to go through this and while many half arse it or don't bother, they're all aware that speaking good English is a sign of being highly educated, cultured, and intelligent. Forcing one's good English on people, even in passing, could be somewhat alienating or uncomfortable.

 

I must confess I have had similar petty feelings, so maybe it says more about me than it does about others. In my mandarin class there was a guy who was so eager. He would pipe up in a thick Beijing accent whenever he could, offering way more than the teacher asked for and it just felt like he was showing off his skills (I vividly remember the teacher asking his name, which he duly provided and then repeated 要中文的吗 three times in a row before the teacher said no). And this was in class.  Now, I have to grudgingly admit that he was very good and I know that this kind of determination leads to results, but for the most part people are too socially conscious to practise with each other outside class with the regularity that would lead to effective learning.

 

My friends and I were in China to learn the language but not even the most advanced of us were uncomfortable practising outside of class just for the sake of it. There were too many egos involved for one thing, and besides that it's just cripplingly inefficient to speak a second language to good friends with whom you share a common tongue. It's no surprise that without foreign friends most of your students never speak English outside of class, there are no organic opportunities to do so. I think nationalism has very little to do with it (although it's clearly shaping their answers).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, LiMo said:

I suspect people would think they were being incredibly pretentious.

 

I think another factor is that many (most?) of the students learning English in China are forced to learn English, but they don't want to. Millions upon millions of students in China learn English. It is a fascinating question: how many of these students are learning English against their will? (As opposed to student who just don't want to study.)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/10/2018 at 10:43 AM, NinjaTurtle said:

I always ask my students on the first day of class who wants to learn American English and who wants to learn British English. I keep track of who is who. (The number of students who want to learn British English is always very small, so it is easy to keep track of them.) I go the extra step and teach them the differences. I make it perfectly clear they are allowed to speak either American English or British English, but they are NOT allowed to mix the two.

No offence... but given that you have no clue about British English, should you be doing this? You don't know anything about British English.

I am British, speak British English, worked as a copywriter writing in American English for some time - I still wouldn't tell students I can teach them American English. I can certainly tell them some of the key differences between AmE and BrE but trying to separate a class into two linguistic groups, one of which you have no familiarity with... no.

Also, it's entirely normal to mix AmE and BrE - have you ever met a Canadian?!?!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

 

I think another factor is that many (most?) of the students learning English in China are forced to learn English, but they don't want to. Millions upon millions of students in China learn English. It is a fascinating question: how many of these students are learning English against their will? (As opposed to student who just don't want to study.)

English is a compulsory subject so I imagine there are lots of students learning English "against their will" - lots of teenagers would say they're also learning maths, chinese literature, etc etc against their will. As a school student I was also forced to learn things against my will. Life as a teenager is very unfair. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with others, high school students not voluntarily practicing their subjects outside of class has nothing to do with nationalism. I have on occasion spoken English with a classmate when I was in secondary school, but that was highly unusual and I can fully believe others would have found it weird. I was a nerdy kid. And even then: one of my English teachers told us it would be good if we watched the BBC news every evening. Now guess how often I have done that. (Never.)

 

Most people just don't have that level of interest in your specific subject, and even if they were, they have a host of other subjects to worry about. If you really want them to speak English outside the classroom, I guess you could assign it as homework, but even then it is likely that many students wouldn't do it, because they have other homework to do as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Because I'm Chinese" isn't a reason to speak or not speak any language. Language status and identity and whatever are relevant topics to study but are irrelevant to whether a student follows instructions. The problem probably lies in your course design.

 

Why would anyone speak any language anywhere? Language is used to get stuff done. If there is nothing to be done, there is no point in using language. So perhaps you should back up and consider why you (or any language teacher) wants them to speak English (or any language) outside class. Or perhaps back all the way up and consider why this course even exists (for next term, likely too late now).

 

To review (or not, depending on your background), language courses exist to make some sort of effect. The content of a course consists of proving that the effect has been made or making the necessary changes to get that evidence. So, in your course design, you'll have established the evidence that you need and the instruction you need to provide in order to get that evidence out of the students. There are many situations in which one may need to speak English outside a classroom, so that skill is legitimate, but it has to be used to get something done. For example, you may have established that you need evidence that the students can ask about hotel room prices on the phone. One way to get it is to require the students to send you a recording of a phone call between them and a random hotel.

 

I don't even know if this stuff is in here anymore but it wouldn't hurt to read (Graves, K. (2007). Designing language courses: A guide for teachers. Heinle & Heinle.).

  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...