Skip to main content
Centralia College logo

PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy (Diamant): Chinese

Find Scholarly Articles

What are Scholarly Articles?

Research-based scholarly articles are written by scholars, researchers, and experts in an academic or professional field to keep each other up to date on their research and to stimulate academic discussions and can be found in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.  Because of their purpose, research-based scholarly articles will usually have original research or in-depth analysis of a topic.  They will be written in academic language (college level) and contain technical terms or jargon from that discipline.  Research-based scholarly articles are also very well cited through out the article and will have a bibliography (sometimes called "references") of all the materials the author used to write the article. Tip: the bibliography can help you get started in finding other information on the topic, which you may use to write your paper.

Why do you need to know about Scholarly Articles?

You are required to find research-based scholarly articles for your research papers in this class.  It is very common for college professors to require students to use scholarly articles when they assign research papers or essays in their classes.

Where can you find Scholarly Articles?

The easiest way to find research-based scholarly articles is through Kirk Library's online article databases listed below. Tip: you can limit your search results to show only full-text articles that are published in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.  This will help you filter out articles that were not published in scholarly journals (e.g. newspapers, magazines, etc.).  Be careful: scholarly or peer-reviewed journals will also include letters to the editor, book reviews, news briefs, and other commentary or opinion articles that are not considered research-based scholarly articles.  You still need to evaluate the articles you find to determine which ones are the research-based scholarly articles.

How can I tell which articles are Scholarly Articles?

Look for the following characteristics of a research-based scholarly article.  If your article has all of the criteria below, then it is most likely a research-based scholarly article.  If you have any doubts, check with your professor to make sure.

  • Credentials of the author (e.g. is there a brief summary of the author's work experience or educational degrees or professional affiliations?)
  • Academic language (e.g. is it college level and have lots of technical terms or professional jargon?)
  • Is it reporting original research or doing an in-depth analysis of a topic?
  • Structure of the article (e.g. is there a formal structure in the paper where the author uses section headings and sub-headings?)

Did I Spell That Right? -- Chinese Romanization Styles

Have you ever wondered why Daoism is sometimes spelled as Taoism, eventhough it's properly pronounced with a "d" sound?  Well, this is an excellent example of different styles of romanization, i.e. different ways of using the Roman alphabet to capture pronunciations in another language.

(In pinyin, the word 道 is romanized as dao.  In Wade-Giles, the word 道 is romanized as tao.  Same word, same pronunciation, but spelled differently using different letters in the Roman alphabet to represent the sound in Mandarin Chinese.)

Ever since the Western world encountered China, there have been efforts to learn Chinese and to discover new ways to make learning easier.  Romanization or latinization, the representation of sounds using Roman letters (i.e. the alphabet) where the original language uses a different script (or none at all), is one of the ways Westerners learn how to pronounce Chinese.

However, since the Chinese language is full of homophones and is a very visual language, learning Chinese through romanization is very limiting.  For a very good example of what this means, go to the following webpage where there is a 93 character long poem, Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den, in which all the words are pronounced the same in Mandarin Chinese except for the different tones.  Orally, the poem is utterly incomprehensible while reading it makes sense.  Make sure to scroll down the webpage and click on the audio files—there is one spoken in Mandarin and one spoken in Cantonese, so you can also hear the differences between these two “dialects.”


By the mid 20th century, there were quite a few romanization systems.  The top three systems that are still in use today are pinyin, Wade-Giles, and Yale (see Table 1 for examples).  The pinyin and Wade-Giles systems are used for Mandarin pronunciations while the Yale system is used for Cantonese pronunciations[1]. 

Pinyin is the official romanization in mainland China and is the system that is taught in Standard Mandarin classes outside of China. 

Wade-Giles is now used mainly in Taiwan, where Mandarin is spoken, though it was once used widely in academic discourses in Sinology before 1980s.  In fact, some academics still use Wade-Giles even though pinyin is now the recognized official romanization system of Standard Chinese.

Yale is mainly used in Hong Kong, where Cantonese is spoken, though that is changing since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.

If you are familiar with these romanization systems, it is somewhat easy to determine where a Chinese person comes from (mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong) by their names and whether they are likely to speak Mandarin or Cantonese.  Chinese names are usually written with the family name (aka clan name or surname) first, then followed by the first names (aka personal names).  Below are a couple of examples to illustrate this.

Table 1










Máo Zédōng (pinyin)

Mao Tse-tung (Wade-Giles)

Mou Zaak-dung (Cantonese romanization)

Since he is from mainland China, his name should most properly be spelled as Mao Zedong.  However, because the Western world used the Wade-Giles system while he was in power, many people are used to seeing his name as Mao Tse-tung.





Sūn Yìxiān (pinyin)

Sun I-hsien (Wade-Giles)

Sun Yat-sen (Cantonese romanization)

Because his name is spelled Sun Yat-sen, the t at the end of Yat denotes that he is from a Cantonese-speaking area in China.  Cantonese has three stop words (i.e. ending sounds that you begin in your mouth, but stop and do not aspirate out) –t, –k, and –p, so if you see these three consonants at the ends of words, it’s most likely a Cantonese romanization.

How to differentiate:  pinyin names never have hyphens in their personal names.  While Wade-Giles and most Cantonese romanizations use hyphens in the personal names, you can tell them apart by how they are written: if the word has a two-consonant combination, such as hs or ts, then it’s likely to be Wade-Giles.  If the ending of a word has a stop word, such as a t or k or p, then it is most likely a Cantonese romanization.

Still confused about Chinese romanization styles?  Post your question in the comment link below.

[1] For more information about the Cantonese language, go to this website: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cantonese.htm

Creative Commons License
The content of these guides, unless otherwise noted, by Kirk Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.