A critical evaluation of bilingual Chinese/English dictionaries for elementary and intermediate Mandarin learners at Stellenbosch University

Wang, Mei (2012-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The number of Chinese-learners in South Africa has increased rapidly in recent years, but the quality of the dictionaries that are available for their use has not improved much. The more students study Chinese, the more it becomes necessary to create suitable dictionaries to facilitate their studies. In the hope of meeting this need, this study selects two written dictionaries commonly used by students at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, namely the Oxford Beginner's Chinese Dictionary and the Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary, to analyze, comment on and compare in terms of structure and equivalence. Using the results of this analysis, this study offers suggestions for improving the quality of future Mandarin learner’s dictionaries. This study takes into consideration the situation faced by students when learning Chinese abroad, especially in South Africa, the development of pedagogical lexicography in Chinese-learner’s dictionaries in China and abroad, the relationship between online dictionaries and written dictionaries, and some special characteristics of the Chinese language, all of which factors greatly influence the making of a dictionary. Theoretically and methodically, this study is based on Function Theory as presented by Sven Tarp. According to Function Theory, before writing a dictionary, lexicographers must analyze specific types of users in specific types of situations. This study attempts to follow Tarp’s suggestion by analyzing a small group of dictionary users with the help of a survey conducted by the author in an attempt to get a general idea of how Mandarin learners at Stellenbosch University use dictionaries. The main focus of this study is the frame structure, microstructure, macrostructure and dictionary equivalence in two dictionaries--Concise and Beginner’s. After carefully analyzing these aspects of the dictionaries, the author identifies the sections of these dictionaries which successfully present information in a way that will be most beneficial for their intended audiences. The study goes on to pinpoint less-successful sections of the two dictionaries and provides suggestions for improvement. In sum, this study focuses on using the principle of Function Theory to determine what features should be included in Mandarin learner’s dictionaries to make them more suitable for elementary and intermediate learners of Mandarin at Stellenbosch University, in South Africa, and, by extension, in other parts of the world.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die afgelope paar jaar het die aantal studente van Sjinees in Suid-Afrika aansienlik toegeneem, maar die standaard van beskikbare woordeboeke het nie veel verbeter nie. Hoe meer studente Sjinees bestudeer hoe noodsaakliker is dit om gepaste woordeboeke te ontwikkel om hulle in hulle studie te help. Om aan hierdie behoefte te voldoen, kies hierdie studie twee woordeboeke wat gereeld deur studente aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch benut word, naamlik die Oxford Beginner’s Chinese Dictionary en die Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary, om hulle te ontleed, kommentaar te lewer en hulle met mekaar in terme van struktuur en ekwivalensie te vergelyk. Met behulp van gevolgtrekkings uit hierdie ontleding word voorstelle gemaak oor hoe om die standaard van toekomstige woordeboeke te verbeter. Die studie neem die situasie in ag waarmee studente wat in die buiteland Sjinees studeer, veral in Suid Afrika, te doen kry, die ontwikkeling van pedagogiese leksikografie in woordeboeke in Sjina sowel as die buiteland, die verhouding tussen aanlynwoordeboeke en gedrukte woordeboeke en sekere spesiale eienskappe van die Sjinese taal - alles faktore wat die opstel van woordeboeke beïnvloed. Teoreties en metodologies is hierdie studie op die funksieteorie, soos aangebied deur Sven Tarp, gebaseer. Volgens die funksieteorie moet leksikograwe voor die opstel van 'n woordeboek spesifieke tipes gebruikers in spesifieke situasies analiseer. Hierdie studie poog om Tarp se voorstelle te volg deur 'n klein groep woordeboekgebruikers, met behulp van 'n ondersoek, uitgevoer deur die outeur, te analiseer om sodoende 'n algemene idee te formuleer van hoe Mandarynse studente aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch woordeboeke benut. Die hooffokus van hierdie studie is die raamwerk, mikrostruktuur, makrostruktuur en ekwivalensie in die twee gekose woordeboeke – Concise en Beginner’s. Nadat hierdie aspekte van die woordeboeke noukeurig ontleed is, identifiseer die outeur die dele wat inligting op die voordeligste manier vir die bestemde gebruiker aanbied. Ook identifiseer hierdie studie die minder suksesvolle dele en stel moontlike verbeteringe voor. Samevattend fokus hierdie studie daarop om die beginsel van die funksieteorie te benut deur vas te stel watter eienskappe in woordeboeke ingesluit moet word om hulle meer geskik te maak vir elementêre en intermediêre Mandarynse studente aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch in Suid-Afrika, sowel as in ander dele van die wêreld.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19925
This item appears in the following collections: