Imperial College London


Central FacultyCentre for Languages, Culture and Communication

Coordinator, Mandarin Chinese



+44 (0)20 7594 8784ruth.herd




323Sherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

3 results found

Taketsuru M, 2021, On The Production Methods of Pot Still Whisky by Masataka Taketsuru, Publisher: humming earth, ISBN: 9781846220739

Translation from the original Japanese of notebooks complied in Campbeltown, Scotland in 1920. These formed the cornerstone of the nascent Japanese whisky industry.


Herd RA, 2016, The Use of the Detective Story Format in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, London, UK, Past, Present and Future: The 13th BCLTS International Conference on Teaching & Learning Chinese in Higher Education, Publisher: Sinolingua London Ltd, Pages: 261-272

Two main strands in the application of the detective story format to the foreign language classroom may be identified: the use of authentic materials selected from widely-recognised masters of the genre, which may be annotated and/or edited for use by learners, and original materials tailor-made for use by foreign learners based on that format. This paper focuses on the latter. While there appear to be few examples as yet of the application of this format to the creation of original materials for the teaching of Chinese, its use in TEFL has a long history, Fiction in Action: Whodunit by Adam Gray and Marcos Benevides (winner of the 2010 HRH the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union Book Award) being only one example. This paper takes up as a case study another notable work, Troll i Ord, a course in Norwegian by Anne Bjørnebek. In addition, a selected text, taken from the Chinese Breeze Graded Reader Series (2007), provides the material on which to conduct a comparative analysis with specific reference to Chinese. Aspects covered in the paper include vocabulary, grammar and cultural context. The paper seeks to demonstrate the way in which the application of the detective fiction genre to language teaching can be extremely valuable, not just in the creation of reading materials, but also when taken as the basis upon which to construct entire courses. The paper also sets out the way in which this genre format has been successfully applied at Imperial College London to the assessment of oral competence.

Conference paper

Herd RA, Zhang J, 2010, Wildean Echoes in the Plays of Ding Xilin, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Vol: 22(1), Pages: 162-196, ISSN: 1520-9857

Ding Xilin, whose major works were written between 1923 and 1940, is the only Chinese playwright of the modern period to have concentrated solely on the writing of comedy. Although as early as the 1920s Chinese critics had already noticed parallels between the works of Ding Xilin and Oscar Wilde, their assessment of both artists was superficial and frequently dismissive. Critical analysis has tended to confine itself to the way in which both playwrights are masters of wit and wordplay - this characteristic is so obvious that it has tended to obscure the full range of characteristics that the playwrights hold in common, one of which being the multi-layered nature of their works. Indeed, both playwrights are demonstrably complex artists, but this complexity has, particularly in the case of Ding Xilin, frequently been overlooked. This can be attributed in part to Ding’s choice of genre; one can detect a lack of recognition among many of his critics that comedy is a distinct genre demanding treatment upon its own terms.Since the 1990s, a more thoroughgoing analysis of Ding’s plays has begun to emerge, but there has hitherto been no detailed exploration of the exact nature of the correspondences that exist between Ding and Wilde. This paper goes some way towards a fuller analysis and highlights the value of testing Ding’s plays against the Wildean aesthetic. Furthermore, it argues that Ding’s oeuvre must be viewed as a consistent reflection of his commitment to comedy and asserts that the division of his work into two distinct periods, each characterized by differing thematic concerns, is artificial and counter-productive.

Journal article

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