Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

German Is Not Necessarily More Difficult Than English: Evidence from a Comparison among English, German and Hanyu Pinyin/L'ALLEMAND N'EST PAS FORCÉMENT PLUS DIFFICILE QUE L'ANGLAIS: CONCLUSION TIRÉE D'UNE COMPARAISON ENTRE L'ANGLAIS, L'ALLEMAND ET LE PINYIN

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

German Is Not Necessarily More Difficult Than English: Evidence from a Comparison among English, German and Hanyu Pinyin/L'ALLEMAND N'EST PAS FORCÉMENT PLUS DIFFICILE QUE L'ANGLAIS: CONCLUSION TIRÉE D'UNE COMPARAISON ENTRE L'ANGLAIS, L'ALLEMAND ET LE PINYIN

Article excerpt

Abstract:

In the area of foreign language learning in China, it is a widely-received view that German is more difficult to learn than English. Few people have realized that the factors that make German difficult to learn can in fact make it easier to learn. This article argues that it is not necessarily the case. Through comparing three pairs of relations in German, English and Hanyu-Pinyin, the author shows that there is a similarity between German and Hanyu-Pinyin in terms of pronunciation and spelling. The relations set up and observed in this article are those between vowel letters and their names, between the names of vowel letter and their sounds in words, between the sounds of vowel letters and their written forms in words. The conclusion at the end may to a certain extent change the generally received claim.

Key words: phoneme, grapheme, orthography

Résumé: En Chine, dans le milieu de l'enseignement des langues étrangères, nombreux sont les chercheurs qui disent que l'allemand est plus difficile à apprendre que l'anglais, mais peu d'entre eux essaient de trouver les choses « faciles » dans cette langue « difficile ». Nous essayerons dans le présent article de trouver des choses plus faciles à maîtriser en allemand qu'en anglais, en faisant des comparaisons entre le Pinyin et ces deux langues. Ces comparaisons portent principalement sur trois relations : relation entre les voyelles et leur nom; relation entre le nom des voyelles et leur prononciation dans un mot ; relation entre la prononciation des voyelles dans un mot et Pépellation de ce mot. Le but de cette recherche est de changer en quelques sortes le préjugé qui dit que « l'allemand est plus difficile que l'anglais de tous les points de vue».

Mots-Clés: phonème, graphème, orthographe

(ProQuest-CSA LLC: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

1. INTRODUCTION

When it comes to the similarities and differences between any two languages, we cannot avoid thinking of their origins. German and English, as near neighbors of Germanic branch in the Indo-European languages, are very different from Chinese, a big member of the Sino-Tibetan language family. In spite of this, the German language is not that strange to those Chinese students who have started to learn it at the very beginning of their study at colleges of foreign languages or in a language course offered by any domestic institutions concerned. On the one hand, they might have learnt some Enlgish knowledge which is usually a compusory subject at high school; on the other hand, they might have a good commond of Hanyu Pinyin at primary school or even in the pre-schooling days, obtaining some basic ideas about the phonetic alphabet and the phonetic transcription of Putonghua (the Chinese Common Speech). Hanyu Pinyin, which records the standard form of pronunciation of Chinese characters with Latin letters, was enacted at the first people's congress of China in 1958. Possessing such previous knowledge, they might probably perceive some simplicity of German language from the early stage of their learning. The simplicity lies in the relatively higher grade of identity between the name of vowel letters and their sounds in words. In the first class the teacher, when introducing German alphabet, writes an "a" and an "A" on the blackboard, and then asks the students to read them aloud. For the students it is not difficult for them to recognize them and to write them down, what they need to leam instead is the name of the letters. They need to know that "a" and "A" in German are termed not "[eI]" but "[a:]". The teacher will write a few words such as "Tag, Bad, Mal" as examples for correct pronunciation. The students will see that the name of "a" and the sound of it in those words are identical. After they have become well acquainted with all the five vowel letters, i.e. to know how to call them ([a:], [e:], [i:], [o:], [u:]), how to write them (, , , , ), and how to pronounce them ( /a:/, /a/, /e:/, /ε/, /i:/, /I/, /o:/, /. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.