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Voices from the diaspora: changing hierarchies and dynamics of Chinese multilingualism

Li, Wei and Zhu, Hua (2010) Voices from the diaspora: changing hierarchies and dynamics of Chinese multilingualism. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2010 (205), pp. 155-171. ISSN 0165-2516.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/IJSL.2010.043

Abstract

The so-called Chinese diasporas, i.e. Chinese communities outside Greater China (China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), have traditionally been dialect dominant; that is, the vast majority of Chinese immigrants are speakers of (especially Southern) dialects. Cantonese and Hokkien are two of the most prominent dialects. With globalization and the rise of China as a world politico-economic power, the national, standardized variety, Putonghua, is gaining particular prestige amongst the Chinese diasporas. For example, all the Cantonese schools for British Chinese children in the UK now also teach Putonghua, but none of the Putonghua schools teach Cantonese. Using ethnographic interviews with and participant observation of Chinese people of different generations in various diasporic communities, this paper examines the changing hierarchies of varieties of Chinese, the implications of such changes for the education and identity development of the young, and the constitution of a (speech) community in the post-modern era. It focuses on language attitude and linguistic practices (including literacy practices). It also investigates the tensions between the competing ideologies and discourses on national and ethnic identities, nationalism, community relations and cultural values.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Chinese diasporas, multilingualism, language ideology, globalization
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2011 14:45
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2953

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