Student Research Project, 2007-2008
Under the mentorship of Dr. Kylie Hsu, Matthew Winter, a Chinese major, presented a refereed paper, "In Search of an Effective Romanized Transcription System for Learning Chinese Pronunciation," at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), November 17, 2007. Participants include faculty and students from Brown University, Cal Tech, Penn State, Purdue University, USC, and the UC System.
One of the reviewers noted: "This is a terrific abstract for a fascinating and original project; I foresee a bright future for you as a linguist!" Encouraged by the positive review, Matthew Winter stated: "I have been studying Chinese since 2003, and one of the first things you learn in class is Hanyu Pinyin, the official system used to transliterate Chinese characters to Latin letters. Immediately, I noticed that native English speakers had some problems learning the spelling rules and correct pronunciations in Hanyu Pinyin, which sparked my interest in the subject of phonetic scripts of Chinese. I knew that there were other phonetic scripts for Chinese that have been created in the past, but I did not know how they were different or why they were important. I finally got the chance to research the topic in an introductory Chinese linguistics class in Winter 2007 under the direction of Dr. Kylie Hsu. I had one hundred native English speakers read aloud five different Chinese phonetic scripts. I took notes on where there were strong and weak points within the scripts in order to fabricate my own 'Winter Script,' in hopes of solving the problems of native English speakers learning Chinese. I had the honor of presenting my topic at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research, and I received exciting responses from the panel of judges. I continued my research in my Chinese phonetics class with Dr. Hsu in Winter 2008 and found my 'Winter Script' to be very effective. I hope to continue research into my graduate studies on this interesting subject."