What makes dialects in South China much more diverse than in the North?

by Haoqiu Zhang

Yesterday on the way to the supermarket, my friend and I talked about our hometown and dialects. It seems to be the right and typical time to get a little bit homesick seeing that many of our other friends have already flown back home.

My friend is from Heilongjiang province in the northern part of China and I am from Jiangsu province in the south. After exchanging ideas, we surprisingly find something we had never paid attention to. She said a sentence in her hometown dialect. But I could barely find its difference from Mandarin except the change in the tones of the words. So I had to ask her, “that’s it”? “That’s it!” She replied without hesitation. She added that the dialects in the whole northern region in China sound almost the same, just with slight difference in tones or intonation from Mandarin. Therefore, it would not be a problem for people to understand northern dialect so long as they can understand Mandarin. So the northern dialect seems quite monotonous and dull.

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Bilingual education in China

Sihong Chen (Blog post 3)

Bilingual education has gained lots of attention in America and Canada and now it has become a hot issue in China. So I want to talk about the development of bilingualism under Chinese contexts. I will begin with my classroom observation experience in one bilingual school in Beijing. When I was a senior in my university, my adviser always provided some opportunities for us to do some classroom observation in some schools in Beijing. I noticed that teachers in bilingual schools already began to infuse dual language into their curriculum. Students in class were exposed to English contexts as much as possible. English was used as instruction in many subjects, not only restricted to English class. Under this mode of instruction, students are expected to enhance their English but it seems that higher English competence is more important than their comprehension of Chinese which is their mother tongue.

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Native and non-native speaker language teachers

Sihong Chen (Blog post 2)

In China, English native speakers seem to have overwhelming advantage over Chinese ESL teachers. When I interned in New Oriental (an English Institution in China), there were some foreign teachers whose teaching experience and teaching methodology are not as good as Chinese English teachers, but they were more welcome by students and parents. When I was an undergraduate, there were also many foreign teachers in my university’s English department. However, there is a phenomenon and that is that most foreign teachers do not have much teaching experience and what they teach is just the language itself. Conversely, these Chinese professors not only have enough teaching experience but also have deeper understanding of language construct and better research background. After I came to Montreal, I wanted to learn some French so I began to think about the question again. Native or non-native FSL teachers, who is better? Finally I choose the non-native speakers because I think they are more familiar with my cultural background and are easier for me to understand. In different contexts, we may have different opinions about native and nonnative language teachers. My experience in Educational institutions, in both my university and in Montreal, makes me rethink about the identity and ethnicity of native and non-native speaker teachers.

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When English is getting increasingly popular in China

By Wei Yang

This is the first time that I come to study and live in a native English speaking country. I have to say that this has been my dream for a long time because of my passion for learning and speaking English started when I was 8 years old. I even imagined myself as an English teacher. I think this imaginary had help me to become who I am today. So now I would like to talk about the influence that English has had on Chinese students.

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