Research on Mandarin



Since I have a linguistics minor and I am a native speaker of mandarin, I had a job as a research assistant for Prof. Sophia Malamud  for her study in an utterance in Mandarin. The job involves classifying the clause types (declarative, interrogative, imperative, underspecified) and the speech act (assertion, question, directive, commissive, hortative, etc.) of the word 'ba' in Mandarin.

My main task was to search for sentences in Mandarin in daily conversation that contains the word 'ba' and translate those conversation into English. And then based on my knowledge in Linguistics, I need to classify what the clause type and speech act are in each sentences.

For me, this experiment is inspiring in a way that it helps me improve my translation skill and sentence analysis ability. At the same time, having conversations with professor on project that I know well and being able to contribute in the project significantly stimulates my interest in doing research.

Over the two months that I was working on this research, I translated and categorized over 500 small segments of conversations. Unfortunately, the research was paused before any conclusion is drew due to funding issue. And when the funding resumes around one year later, I was so busy working on my physics thesis that I could not take the position again.