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Chinese context elaborations

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Chinese L8: Context elaborations

Students are expected to engage with and respond clearly and critically to a variety of extended texts, including authentic texts (those not created or modified specifically for language learners).

They are expected to use the language more variably (flexibly) and with greater effectiveness (fitness for purpose and appropriateness), at times in sustained interactions and extended texts. They are expected to explore the views of others, develop and share personal perspectives, and justify, support, or challenge ideas and opinions in different situations and on matters that are beyond their immediate experience. In all their output, it is expected that students will use their developing knowledge of linguistic and cultural forms to help them create meaning.

The following context elaborations are examples for teacher guidance only. They should not be used as assessment tools.

Example 1: Dialogue

小华 — 明年我爸希望我上男校。

Mary — 为什么你爸爸希望你上男校?

小华 — 因为我爸认为 ,男孩子上男校才能专心上课 ,不会分心。

Mary — 胡说!我觉得我们上学不只是为了学习课本上的东西。
 学校还提供很多别的机会 ,比如说让我们学习怎么和别人相处。

小华 — 对呀!我就很想学习怎么和女孩子相处。哈哈哈!开玩笑!

Mary — 不过 ,如果你上男校 ,你可以做很多体育活动。这对你比较好。因为在新西兰 ,运动对一般人来说 ,非常重要。你可以打打橄榄球或是板球。

小华 — 可是我不喜欢做运动。让我做我喜欢做的事 ,对我才是真的好!

Mary — 那你喜欢做什么?唱歌?跳舞?

小华 — 对!我就是喜欢唱歌跳舞。可是我爸说“男孩子唱唱跳跳的多丢脸呀!”

Mary — 就是呀!唱歌跳舞有什么不好

小华 — 唉!我们别说了。我爸决定的事 ,是不可能改变的。

Context and text type

Xiaohua is an international student from China. He is engaged in dialogue with his Kiwi friend Mary about why he is attending a single-sex school in New Zealand.

Text type

Conversational exchange, informal. Interactive.

Examples showing how the student is:

Communicating information, ideas, and opinions through extended and varied texts

Mary expresses wishes and aspiration for the future:

  • 你爸爸希望你上男校。

The duplication of the verb 打打橄榄球 indicates spoken language.

The use of 胡说 shows that the relationship between the speakers is informal.

Mary’s use of interrogative pronouns as rhetorical questions emphasise or challenge an idea and opinion; affirmative meaning is conveyed through a negative form and vice versa 有什么不好

Mary uses and to soften tone and to express mood.

In the sentence 在课本上的东西 , the use of 上 indicates the academic knowledge contained in the textbooks.

It is important to remember that this is a spoken interaction. Therefore, spoken features such as pronunciation, intonation, rhythm patterns, delivery speed, audibility, stress patterns, and tones have a bearing on the overall effectiveness of the communication and must also be taken into consideration.

Exploring the views of others

Mary asks for further information and challenges an idea, for example:

  • 为什么?

Developing and sharing personal perspectives

Her use of 我认为 / 我觉得 expresses and reinforces her own ideas.

Justifying their own ideas and opinions

Mary uses the interrogative pronouns 有什么不好 to emphasise and reinforce one’s own opinion and perspectives.

Supporting or challenging the ideas and opinions of others

Mary uses interrogative pronouns as rhetorical questions 有什么不好?This device also implicitly challenges an idea or opinion.

Engaging in sustained interactions and producing extended texts

The examples 为什么?and 那你喜欢做什么?illustrate how Mary demands further explanation.

She uses 胡说!and 就是呀!to show agreement and/or disagreement and to encourage and facilitate the flow of conversation.

Exploring how linguistic meaning is conveyed across languages

The colloquialism 胡说 is used to express the idea of 'nonsense' (literally, 'barbarian talk'). Traditionally, the Han Chinese considered themselves the only civilised people and the centre of universe. Other peoples were referred to as barbarians. Any ideas and opinions expressed by non-Han people were considered 'barbarian talk', hence nonsense.

专心 means 'concentrated on' or 'focused on' something. literally means 'heart' and is used to indicate the Chinese concept of mind.

Analysing how the language expresses cultural meanings

The values of honour and respect in Chinese culture appear here in the concept of 'face' and embarrassment. 丢脸 literally means 'to lose face'. Obedience to parents, especially the father’s wishes, is a form of respect.

Traditional gender roles in Chinese society are seen in the comment on expectations of male behaviour: 男孩子唱唱跳跳的多丢脸啊!It is shameful for Chinese boys to sing and dance in public, as they are expected to behave in a disciplined and controlled manner in public at all times.

Xiaohua uses the formulaic expression 别说了!to change the topic of conversation and avoid confrontation. Mary understands this cultural prompt and stops discussing this topic further with Xiaohua.

Opportunities for developing intercultural communicative competence

Explore traditional/modern gender roles in China and New Zealand, and how these change over time.

Study the etiquette for exchanging questions and expressing disagreement in Chinese and English, and explore the values associated with these linguistic and cultural practices.

Compare and contrast aspects of the education systems in China and New Zealand and the values associated with these.

Last updated March 27, 2013