Demystifying Chinese Characters

John Jing-hua Yin, Chair and Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

John Jing-hua Yin, Chair and Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

Chinese characters, unlike the writing system of any Indo-European language, are formed with no letters or combination of letters to represent the sounds of the Chinese language. Chinese characters have been a highly developed writing system for at least 3,300 years. How were the Chinese characters formed? What changes have Chinese characters undergone? How can native English speakers effectively learn and appreciate Chinese characters? Professor Yin addresses these questions, drawing on his studies and research.

Video (MP4)
Audio (MP3)

Professor Yin has been a faculty member at the University of Vermont since 1997. His research interests are in the area of teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign language, focusing on the Chinese writing and tonal system. He has published Fundamentals of Chinese Characters and Practical Rhythmic Chinese as well as a co-edited book, Chinese as a Foreign Language Teaching Practice and Reflections. He has also published over 20 book chapters and journal articles. He is currently chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

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