Speech Acts in Films
is a
site where students of Mandarin Chinese learn to examine, understand, and practice social language through the medium of film. The primary audience of the materials are low-advanced and advanced learners who completed approximately two years of language instruction. The materials have been developed for blended-learning environments, but can also be used for self-study, or as supplemental materials in traditional instructional settings.

Speech acts are typically considered to be utterances with a performative function in a communicative situation. Which means a person utters something in order to do something or in order to have an effect on somebody. Common speech acts include asking, apologizing, explaining, discussing, greeting, ordering, persuading and many more. Proficiency in another language includes knowledge of speech acts.

In the materials on this site, we developed exercises, activities, explanations and worksheet for learners to practice speech acts through the content of four rich and entertaining Chinese films. Among other objectives, students will learn how to:
  • write a film synopsis
  • write a depiction in poetic style
  • compare and contrast
  • talk about differences and change-of-states
  • greet casually
  • request help and respond to requests for help
  • apologize and receive apology
  • persuade someone
We hope you find this site useful. Your feedback and your suggestions are encouraged.

  • You should purchase and use legal copies of the featured films. Links for purchasing the films are provided at the end of each section. 
  • Only a very small portion (a few minutes) of each film forms the basis of the commentaries on how language works in real-life scenarios (under Fair Use condition of Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act).

  • _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    This site was developed by Dr. Xuehua Xiang (University of Chicago-Illinois) as part of the 2010-2014
    program of the Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER ) at The Pennsylvania State University, a national Language Resource Center (LRC) (Grant #P229A100012) funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  However, the contents of this site does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

    Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research I The Pennsylvania State University

    Except where otherwise noted, the contents on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

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