Language Policy in the People's Republic of China: Theory and Practice Since 1949 / Edition 1

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Overview

Language matters in China. It is about power, identity, opportunities, and, above all, passion and nationalism. During the past five decades China’s language engineering projects transformed its linguistic landscape, affecting over one billion people’s lives, including both the majority and minority populations. The Han majority have been juggling between their home vernaculars and the official speech, Putonghua - a speech of no native speakers - and reading their way through a labyrinth of the traditional, simplified, and Pinyin (Roman) scripts. Moreover, the various minority groups have been struggling between their native languages and Chinese, maintaining the former for their heritages and identities and learning the latter for quality education and socioeconomic advancement.

The contributors of this volume provide the first comprehensive scrutiny of this sweeping linguistic revolution from three unique perspectives. First, outside scholars critically question the parities between constitutional rights and actual practices and between policies and outcomes. Second, inside policy practitioners review their own project involvements and inside politics, pondering over missteps, undergoing soul-searching, and theorizing their personal experiences. Third, scholars of minority origin give inside views of policy implementations and challenges in their home communities. The volume sheds light on the complexity of language policy making and implementing as well as on the politics and ideology of language in contemporary China.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"This volume tries to give an overview of ‘the dramatic linguistic revolution that has swept across China’ during the second half of the twentieth century. … In the 19 papers which this book presents, the reader is made well aware of the enormous complexities involved in language-planning in a country with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. … This quite detailed and scholarly study can be read by anyone with a deeper interest in Chinese culture, language, society." (E. Van Laerhoven, Acta Comparanda, Vol. XVI, 2005)

From the Publisher

From the reviews:

"This volume tries to give an overview of ‘the dramatic linguistic revolution that has swept across China’ during the second half of the twentieth century. … In the 19 papers which this book presents, the reader is made well aware of the enormous complexities involved in language-planning in a country with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. … This quite detailed and scholarly study can be read by anyone with a deeper interest in Chinese culture, language, society." (E. Van Laerhoven, Acta Comparanda, Vol. XVI, 2005)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402080388
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 8/27/2004
  • Series: Language Policy Series , #4
  • Edition description: 2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 345
  • Product dimensions: 0.88 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Table of contents
List of contributors
Preface by the series editors Bernard Spolsky and Elana Shohamy
Foreword; Victor H. Mair
Acknowledgements

1: Introduction: The Context of the Theory and Practice of China’s Language Policy; Minglang Zhou and Heidi A. Ross

Part I: Theory and Practice in the Center
2. Fifty Years of Script and Written Language Reform in the PRC: The Genesis of the Language Law of 2001; John S. Rohsenow
3. The Relationship between Putonghua and Chinese Dialects; Longsheng Guo
4. The Creation of Writing Systems and Nation Establishment: The Case of China in the 1950s; Qingsheng Zhou
5. Minority Language Policy in China: Equality in Theory and Inequality in Practice; Minglang Zhou

Part II: The Center Versus the Periphery in Practice
6. Language Spread Versus Language Maintenance: Policy Making and Implementation Process; Dongyan Ru Blachford
7. Good to Hear: Using the Trope of Standard to Find One’s Way in a Sea of Linguistic Diversity; Susan D. Blum
8. Putonghua Education and Language Policy in Postcolonial Hong Kong; Bennan Zhang and Robin R. Yang
9. On the Promotion of Putonghua in China: How a Standard Language Becomes a Vernacular; Claire Saillard

Part III: Theorizing Personal Experiences from the Practice
10. Theorizing over 40 Years Personal Experiences with the Creation and Development of Minority Writing Systems of China; Hongkai Sun
11. The Use and Development of Dai and Its Vernacular Writing Systems; Yaowen Zhou and Fenghe Fang

Part IV: Theory and Practiced Viewed from Minority Communities
12. The Use and Development of Tibetan in China; Maocao Zhou
13. The Introduction and Development of the Zhuang Writing System; Xulian Li and Quanxi Huang
14. Policies on the Planning and Use of the Yi Language and Writing Systems; Zhongliang Pu
15. Language Policy for Bai; Feng Wang
16. The Use and Development of Mongol and Its Writing Systems in China; Caodaobateer
17. Language Policy and Standardization of Korean in China; Pingwu Tai

Part V: Foreign Language Education Policy and Modernization
18. Foreign Language Education in the PRC: A Brief Overview; LuMing Mao and Yue Min

Postscript

19. Language Matters in China: An Anthropological Postscript; Ann M. Hill

Index

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