Temporal relations in Chinese

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Being able accurately to use the different tenses in English is a difficult task for most second language learners. One of the reasons is that concepts of time and the realisation of time in language differ across cultures. For students from a Chinese background, English forms of expression for the state and the process of an event might lead to confusion because of what they have learned in Chinese. This study thus investigates how time is conceptualised in Chinese and how relations between events which take place at different points or periods of time are expressed in Chinese. The analysis is expected, on the one hand to raise learners' awareness of how temporal relations are realised in their mother tongue and enable them to make comparisons with the realisation of temporal concepts in other languages like English. On the other hand, the analysis is expected to provide teachers of English as a second language with basis for designing more appropriate strategies for explaining the concept of tenses in English to Chinese students. Copyright © 1998 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-59
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Language in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998


Leung, P. (1998). Temporal relations in Chinese. Asia Pacific Journal of Language in Education, 1(1), 33-59.


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