Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1783.1/1360

The use and effect of Cantonese sentence particles in students' e-mails : the emergence of a 'cyber-creole'?

Authors James, Gregory C. A.
Issue Date 2000
Source Changing languages : language education in the era of transition. Edited by Y. O. Mak and Merry M. L. Keung. Hong Kong : Language Centre, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, c2000
Summary In Cantonese, lexical items are distinguished by pitch ('tone') as well as segmental features. Much of what is conveyed in English by pitch, stress, intonation, lexical and structural choice is expressed by 'utterance particles' in Cantonese. Although these particles have modal and aspectual functions, rarely is this formally pointed out contrastively to Cantonese learners of English. When Cantonese students correspond with each other in English via e-mail or ICQ, they tend to compensate for their inability to structure their sentences to express appropriate modal meaning in English, by substituting Cantonese utterance particles appended to English sentences. There has developed, therefore, a sort of 'cyber-creole', where the individual lexical choices are English, but the pan-sentence modal-aspectual expression is Cantonese. The author of this paper analyses some examples of students' ICQ writing, and suggests how a knowledge of this Cantonese-English creole can help us to understand the difficulties Cantonese students have in expressing themselves in written English. 粵語的語句是按調(音)和音段特徵來區分,而英語的調、重讀、語調、詞項及結構在粵語裡,則大部分是以語末助詞來表逹。雖然語末助詞具有表逹情態和體貌的作用,但一般來說,老師很少會向學生指出粵、英語在這方面的對比。 當以粵語為母語的學生利用電郵或ICQ 溝通時,他們習慣在英文句子後附加粵語的句末助詞,以彌補在表逹情態意思上的不足,因而便產生了一種‘網上混合語’,即個別詞彙用英語,但句子間的情態詞則用粵語。 本文試分析學生在ICQ上的對話,並建議如何利用此粵、英混合語的知識,來幫助我們了解粵語學生在英文寫作中表逹上的困難。
Subjects
ICQ
Language English
Format Book chapter
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