What is Chinese? —— An Introduction to Language Contact in China


December 2, 2023
9:30 - 11:30 AM EST

What defines the Chinese language? Do all Chinese speak Mandarin?
Do all Chinese people speak Chinese? Is the Chinese language exclusive to Chinese nationals?

In this lecture, Professor Mingjie Li from East China Normal University will provide an overview of language contact in China. Drawing upon an introduction to Chinese dialects and the distribution of minority languages in China, Prof. Li will delve into the dynamic and inclusive nature of the Chinese language system, and underscore the cultural diversity it fosters, exemplified through multilingualism, the incorporation of loanwords, and other linguistic usages.

For questions, please contact Yongqiang Lin at

New York State teachers attending this program are eligible to receive 2 hours of CTLE credits. China Institute is an approved Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) sponsor recognized by the New York State Education Department.

In partnership with New England Chinese Language Teachers Association (NECLTA) and Chinese Program at Tufts University, PDP certificate is available for NECLTA members.

This two-hour online seminar will be in Chinese.

This series is made possible through the support of the Center for Language Education, the ECNU Center, and generous supporters of China Institute.


Mingjie Li 李明洁

Mingjie Li, PhD in Chinese Linguistics and Philology, Professor and doctoral supervisor at East China Normal University. She worked in the Chinese Department at ECNU from 1991 to 2015 and then transitioned to the School of Social Development in 2015. Her professional experience includes serving as a council member of the Shanghai Language Association from 2006 to 2019, acting as a consultant for the Shanghai Municipal Education Examination Institute from 2011 to 2015, and coordinating Chinese language and Chinese culture courses at the Institute De Management Europe Asie (Quimper, France) in 1999. Additionally, she led the Mandarin Teacher Training Program at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (now the Education University of Hong Kong) in 2003. Dr. Li has authored linguistic and applied linguistic books, such as "Metacognition and Linking Structures of Discourse" " 100 Examples of Chinese Grammar" and "New Perspectives on Oral Communication". She has also contributed to the development of textbooks and reference books, including "High School Chinese" (East China Normal University edition) and "Teaching Methods for the New Curriculum of High School Chinese" (Higher Education Press edition).

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