Dr. Helen Xiaoyan Wu

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Dr. Helen Xiaoyan Wu



Dr. Helen Xiaoyan Wu is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the Centre for French & Linguistics, University of Toronto, Scarborough. [1] She has been teaching Chinese language, literature, culture and society, and translation courses at UTS since 2007 first in the Department of Humanities and now in the Centre for French & Linguistics. From July 1998 to June 2007, she was a Senior lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. From 1987 to 1998, she was a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, student instructor, and a sessional lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies.

She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto in 1997. Her dissertation was titled "Language and Society: Studies of Guandao / Gongchi and Corruption from the Perspective of Neologisms in Post-Mao China.” For the full text of the dissertation, see [2]

Her M.A., awarded in 1988 was also from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. Dr. Wu holds a Certificate from the Shanghai Institute of International Management, 1984. Her B.A., was from the Department of English, Shanghai International Studies University, 1982. Helen was a part-time instructor at York University's Schulich School of Business from 1991 to 2008 and at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University from 2005 to 2008. Before studying in Canada she was a full time instructor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics from 1982 to 1985.

Dr. Wu's research projects include aspects of Chinese culture such as corruption in officialdom and the Chinese language in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary subjects in the official and mass media, language, literature, film, history, and women’s studies. Her approaches to these areas of China/Chinese studies, including her Ph.D. dissertation, are almost all related to language, literature, society and culture in one way or another (e.g., neologisms, old and new sayings, literature, the oral and performing arts, films, state-owned enterprises v. private economy, etc.). An on-going research project, which won a SSHRC grant, is on satirical verse in the Chinese media.

Almost all of Helen Wu's work covers linguistics in a broad sense, including sociolinguistics, language and society, sociology of language, political economy of language, neologisms, etymology, sayings, verse, literary translation, classical and modern language, rhetoric in literature, phonetics, and applied linguistics, especially the pedagogy of teaching Chinese language as a second/foreign language. An on-going research project is a comparative study of the Chinese and English writing systems.

Dr. Wu's publications are in the fields of the Chinese language, novel, poetry appreciation and translation, etymology and Classical and Modern Chinese studies and applications in pedagogy. Her publications and international conference research papers, such as those on popular verse concerning the people of contemporary China and their society, also include many works of literature and culture. [3]

Selected Publications

"The party alliance in Taiwan and the easing of cross-strait tensions" with Francis Tsu-ching Hu, and Chi-ming Wang in Taiwan and the Rise of China: Cross-strait Relations in the Twenty-first Century. Baogang Guo and Chung-chian Teng, editors. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012. [4] [5]

"Self-Assertive Mistresses and Corrupt Officials: The Complex Interdependencies," in Zhidong Hao and Sheying Chen, editors. Social Issues in China Gender, Ethnicity, Labor, and the Environment. New York Heidelberg Dordrecht London: Springer, 2012, 45-67. [6]

勇于挑战,积极探索 ——加拿大中文教师学会第三届―汉语桥‖研讨会发言综述 5 "Accepting the Challenge and Seeking the Solution." On the Presentations at the 3rd ―Chinese Bridge‖ CLTAC Conference (CLTAC Vice President: Helen Xiaoyan Wu/吴小燕) , 5-7. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Canada Le journal de l’Association des enseignants de chinois du Canada. May / Mai 2010 / 二零一零年五月 General Serial Number 2, 2010.

"Daoist Wisdom and Popular Wisdom: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of the Philosophical Maxims in the Daode Jing and Their Proverbial Equivalents," in Wisdom in China and the West, Vincent Shen and Willard Gurdon Oxtoby, editors. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2004. 303-328 [7]

"Shao Xing wine." 2009. [8]

“China’s Officials Who ‘Inspect’ the Whole World: ‘Inspected’ in Satirical Verse and Real Life in the Chinese Media,” American Review of China Studies, 10:2, Fall 2009, pp. 51-68.

“Drama or Mechanical Pattern Drills? On Performing CFL/CSL in the Initial Stage,” The Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Canada (online), Vol. 1, May 2009, pp. 10-31.

“Xiaosa Tanyuan” (The Etymology of Xiaosa [Natural and Unrestrained]), in Yaowen-Jiaozi 300 Pian (300 Essays Selected from Correct Wording), Book 1, ed. Hao Mingjian (Shanghai: Shanghai Wenhua, 2008), pp. 240-241. Reprint of Yaowen-Jiaozi, Oct. 2000, pp. 18-19, as one of the 300 best essays out of 8,000 articles of the journal.

“Dui Duolunduo Shanghai Meishi de Wenhua Sikao” (A Cultural Study on Shanghai Cuisine in Toronto), in Yangzhou Daxue Pengren Xuebao (Yangzhou University Journal of Culinary Studies), 23:1 (Mar. 2006), pp.8-11.

Essays in China Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the People’s Republic, Vol. 1 (A-L) and Vol. 2 (M-Z), ed. Jing Luo. Westport, CT and London: Greenwood, 2005:

1. “Anti-corruption Literature and TV Dramas,” Vol. 1, pp. 27-31.

2. “Fast Food (Western Style), Integration of,” Vol. 1, pp. 178-181.

3. “Illegal Drugs, Control of” Vol. 1, pp. 270-273.

4. “Modern Pop-satire,” Vol. 2, pp. 415-418.

5. “Sexual Freedom in Literature,” Vol. 2, pp. 545-548.

“Shiwu he Yaowu Mingcheng zhong Bichou-qumei de Xiuci Xianxiang” (The Rhetorical Phenomenon of Avoiding the Ugly and Inclining to the Beautiful in Naming Foodstuffs and Medicines), in Xiucixue Yanjiu (Research on Rhetoric), series No. 10, by the Rhetorical Studies Society of East China and the Chinese Language and Literature Research Institute of Fudan University, Shanghai: Shanghai Culture, 2004, pp. 213-218.

“Zhang Ling de Zhong-duan-pian Xiaoshuo jiqi Huojiang Zuopin ‘Nüren Sishi’ Pingxi” (On Zhang Ling’s Novellas and Short Stories and Her Award-winning Short Story ‘A Woman at Forty’), Wenhua Zhongguo (Cultural China), in 9:4, No. 35 (Dec. 2002), pp. 13-21.

“Shi Guji zhong youguan Paoguan-yaoguan he Maiguan-maifa de Guanjian Ci” (Examining the Keywords about Jockeying for Officialdom and Bending the Law by Selling Official Positions in Classics). Hanxue Congshu (Forum on Sinology), Book 3. Ed. Zhu Liyuan and Chen Guanglei. Taiyuan, Shanxi: Shanxi Guji Chubanshe (Shanxi Press for Classics), 2002, pp. 139-149.

“Guji zhong de ‘Paoguan’ Jizai” (On the Records about Jockeying for Officialdom in the Classics), Guji Yanjiu (Research on Classics), No. 4, 2001 (Serial No. 36), pp. 43-45 and 67.

“Lun Daxue Chuji Hanyu Jiaocai Wenxuexing, Sixiangxing, Quweixing yu Yuyan Gaodian de Jiangu” (On the Integration of Linguistic Points with Literature, Thought and Humor in Beginning Chinese Textbooks for Universities), in Dui yi Yingyu wei Muyuzhe de Hanyu Jiaoxue Yanjiu – Niujin Yantaohui Lunwen Ji (Research on Teaching Chinese to Native Speakers of English: Collection of Essays at the Oxford Symposium), ed. Zhang Dexin and Li Xiaoqi, Beijing: People’s Education Press, 2001, pp. 240-252.

“The Sociology of Language Through the Choice of Terms: From Buzhengzhifeng (Unhealthy Tendencies), Guandao (Official Profiteering) to Jingji Fanzui (Economic Crimes),” in the Proceedings of the Ninth North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 2. Ed. Hua Lin. Linguistics Department, University of Southern California, 1998, pp. 297-309.

“Wenyanwen Jiaoxue Yu Jiao yu Le, Bu Yi Le hu? – Tan Gushi Xinbian Fa (Is It Not a Pleasure to Combine Teaching Literary Chinese with Recreation? – On the Pedagogy of Creating New Stories in a Literary Chinese Course), in Di-wu-jie Shijie Hua Yuwen Jiaoxue Yantaohui Lunwen Ji: Jiaoxue Yingyong Zu (Shang Ce) (The Proceedings of the Fifth World Chinese Language and Literature Conference: Applications in Teaching (Book 1), Taipei, Taiwan: Shijie Hua Yuwen Jiaoyu Xuehui, [1997,] pp. 299-307.

“Wining and Dining at Public Expense in Post-Mao China from the Perspective of Sayings,” East Asian Forum, 5 (1996): pp. 1-37.

Selected Conference Presentations

Helen Xiaoyan Wu & Vivelle Yearwood The Pros and Cons of the Two Chinese Script Systems and Their Implications in Teaching The Centre for French and Linguistics presents: 1st Undergraduate Linguistics Conference 1st UTSC Undergraduate Conference in Linguistics: November 15, 2013 (IC318) [9]

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