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Tiger Event


January 10, 2021 at 1:00:00 AM

Not so Insular: The Influence of Other Languages and Dialects on Mandarin

Presenter / Panelists

Neil Kubler, Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies, Department of Asian Studies, Williams College


Lisa Chang Ahnert, former Director of Asian Studies at Southern Methodist University and former Director of Chinese Studies at Hong Kong International School

Neil Kubler, who has devoted his career to Chinese language teaching and learning, observes as a polyglot that all languages are subject to the influence of other languages with which their speakers or readers come into contact. English, for example, has borrowed numerous words and expressions from French, Latin, and many other languages.

Neil notes Chinese, which for centuries flooded the vocabularies of Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese, while taking relatively little in return, has also -- especially since the beginning of large scale contact with the West-- been strongly influenced by foreign languages.

This Tiger Talk will explore, among other things, the influence of European languages on Chinese grammar; the influence of Japanese on Chinese vocabulary; and the influence of Sinitic languages like Cantonese and Taiwanese on modern spoken Mandarin.

Registration for the talk is by email invitation only, and at this time participation is limited to members of our Tiger Community, including Helen Lin's students, colleagues, family, and invited guests. We welcome friends and colleagues of Tiger Community members to join us -- please have them send us their contact information, so we can send them an invitation. Email:


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