Pholological Differences Between Mandarin and English

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Language Studies 172
Assignment 1 :Essay on Language comparison.
By: Kyle Sibson 14189702

Assessment 1
For this assessment I have been required to compare English with another language. I have decided to choose Mandarin as my language of choice. A major elements of languages will be compared in this essay. That being phonology. Phonology is defined as being “the study of the way speech sounds form patterns”.(Victoria Fromkin 2009). As (Hammond 1999) describes, every spoken language has a unique system whereby sounds are organised. This unique pattern of pattern can be termed phonology and varies widely in geographical and social differences. English is the most widely spoken language in the world with up to a total of up to 1.8 billion speakers in the world.(Lewis 2009) It is generally regarded as being the international language or lingua-franca of the world. English is the official language for Australia, New Zealand, England, America and Canada. It is also the joint or semi-official language for many other countries. Each of these countries English differs slightly in phonology and there even exists regional differences inside these countries but in this essay Australian English will be used as the standard. Australian English consists of 24 consonants and 20 vowels, 12 being monophthongs and 8 being diphthongs. Below are charts with the list of consonants and vowels.


All these sounds are called phonemes, which are the simplest form of a sound and all these sounds make up the English language.

Stress is very important in English language because English is a stress language and at least one syllable is stressed in an English word.(Victoria Fromkin 2009) In general stress is made by pronouncing the syllable more forcefully with a higher pitch. Stress in English can also be used in two ways, either to accentuate emotion or more importantly, to change the meaning of a word. Some examples of how words stress can change the meaning of the words is with the word Rebel. Rebel, with the stress on the first syllable [a noun meaning one who rebels or is in rebellion and with the stress on the second syllable [turns it into an intransitive verb meaning to refuse allegiance to and oppose by force an established government or ruling authority.(Dictionary 2009)

Intonation in English can end up changing the whole context of a sentence. In English we do this by changing the pitch of our voice to modify the world or syllable.(Pike 1945) Take the sentence “I’m going to Perth tomorrow” If we end the sentence with a rising tone on tomorrow it becomes a questions but if we end it with a falling tone it becomes a sentence.

In Chinese there exist many dialects, but the one that this essay will focus on is Mandarin which is the official language of the People’s Republic of China spoken by roughly 1.3 billion people.(Agency 2009) Unlike English, in Mandarin words consist of single syllables or are compounded with other syllables to make relative words. One example of this is the word panda, which in mandarin is xiong mao ɕixiong meaning bear and mao meaning cat so the two monosyllabic words are put together to form a descriptive word panda. Chinese words also all consist of an Initial consonant and a final. All together there are 21 initials, six simple finals and 2 semi-vowels which are shown below.  | Unaspirated| Aspirated| Nasal| Voiceless

fricative| Voiced
Labial| b| p| m| f|  |
Alveolar| d| t| n|  | l|
Velar| g| k|  | h|  |
Palatal| j| q|  | x|  |
Dental sibilant| z| c|  | s|  |
Retroflex| zh| ch|  | sh| r|
Mandarin Pinyin| English Equivalent|
w| As in English. Special case: the syllable "wu" is pronounced as the Pinyin "u" (the...
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