Personal Multilingual Practices in the Chinese Mainland

Author Information

Xinyi Zhong,
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

Lay Hoon Ang,
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

DOI: 10.47298/cala2022.3-3
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in Asia 2022

Abstract

China has long been a multi-ethnic and multicultural country, and currently has 56 ethnic groups speaking approximately 2300 dialects or sub-dialects. However, its multilingualism has long been controversial in academia, and whether multilingualism exists in the Chinese mainland remains unclear. Multilingualism may be observed in the Chinese mainland, with the promotion of Mandarin and English, and the maintenance of regional dialects in recent years.

The current study aims to explore the multilingual practices in the Chinese mainland through a case study. The following questions are proposed: What are the features of multilingual practices in the Chinese Mainland? What are the factors contributing to language features in the Chinese Mainland? What type of multilingualism does the Chinese Mainland adhere to?

Two-full-day recordings of the participant conversations were made in order to document language. In follow-up interviews, the participant was asked about his intentions to behave as multilingual. Results suggest that features of multilingual practices including interference, borrowing, mixing, and code-switching appear. Social, personal, and conversational factors contribute to the participant’s multilingual practices. The study takes individual multilingualism as a reflective example that also contributes to the interpretation of multilingualism in China.


Keywords: The Chinese Mainland, discourse analysis, language use, multilingual practices, sociolinguistics


References

Adamson, B. and Feng, A. (2021). Multilingual China: National, Minority and Foreign Languages (1st Ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429286056
Al-Daher, Z. Y. (2021). Necode-Switching to English Amongst Arabic-Speaking Jordanians in Canada. Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures, 13(3): 477–499. https://doi.org/10.47012/jjmll.13.3.7
Alkhawaldeh, A. (2019). Code-Switching Between Arabic and English: Reasons, Types and Attitudes as Expressed by EFL Female Students at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(6): 135. https://doi.org/10.5539/tjel.v9n6p135
Appel, R. and Muyksen, P. (2005). Language Contact And Bilingualism. Amsterdam University Press.
Bahous, R. N., Nabhani, M. B. and Bacha, N. N. (2014). Code-Switching in Higher Education in a Multilingual Environment: A Lebanese Exploratory Study. Language Awareness, 23(4): 353–368.
https://doi.org/10.1080/09658416.2013.828735
Bhatia, T. K. and Ritchie, W. C. (2013). Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism (2nd Ed.). Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Blom, J. P. and Gumperz, J. J. (2000). Social Meaning in Linguistic Structure: Code-Switching in Norway. In W. Li (Ed.), The Bilingualism Reader (pp. 102–126). Global: Routledge.
Carstens, S. and Ang, L. H. (2019). Conversational Code Switching: Languaging Chinese Identities in Multilingual Malaysia. Asian Journal of Social Science, 47: 508–533. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685314-04704005
Chan, K. L. R. (2018). Being A ‘Purist’ In Trilingual Hong Kong: Code-Switching Among Cantonese, English and Putonghua. Linguistic Research, 35(1): 75–95. https://doi.org/10.17250/khisli.35.1.201803.003
Chen, L. (2004). An Investigation Of Teacher Code-Switching In The English Teaching Classroom [英语专业教师在课堂上语码转换调查]. Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages [解放军外国语学院学报], 27(5): 34–40.
Chen, X. (Ed.). (2012). English in Contemporary China: Its Use and Localization [当代中国语境下的英语使用及其本土化研究]. Peking University [北京大学出版社].
Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F. and Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2021). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (24th Ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. http://www.ethnologue.com
Feng, A. (2005). Bilingualism for the Minor or the Major? An Evaluative Analysis of Parallel Conceptions in China. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8(6): 529–551.
https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050508669067
Gardner-Chloros, P. (2009). Code-Switching. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511609787
Gil, J. (2016). English Language Education Policies in the People’s Republic of China. In English Language Education Policy in Asia (Pp. 49–90).
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-22464-0
Hoffmann, C. (2014). Introduction to Bilingualism. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315842035
Holmes, J. (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (4th Ed.). John Wiley And Sons, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315833057
Hopewell, S. and Abril-Gonzalez, P. (2019). ¿Por Qué Estamos Code-Switching? Understanding Language Use in a Second-Grade Classroom. Bilingual Research Journal, 42(1): 105–120. https://doi.org/10.1080/15235882.2018.1561554
Jiang, Q. and Li, T. (2011). An Investigation of English-Chinese Code-Mixing on a University Campus [大学校园里的英汉双语夹杂语言现象调查]. Journal of Chongqing Education [重庆教育学院学报], 24(2): 19–21.
Joseph, B. D., Ndoci, R. and Dickerson, C. (2019). Language Mixing in Palasa. Journal of Greek Linguistics, 19(2): 227–243.
https://doi.org/10.1163/15699846-01902002
Lam, A. (2005). Language Education in China: Policy and Experience From 1949. Hong Kong University Press.
Lee, S. (2015). Language Choice and Code-Switching Among Hong Kong’s Hakka Speakers. Global Chinese, 1(1): 57–83.
https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1003
Lee, S. and Li, D. C. S. (2013). Multilingualism in Greater China and the Chinese Language Diaspora. In T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie (Eds.), The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism (2nd Edition) (Pp. 813–842). Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118332382.ch33
Li, W. (2013). Conceptual And Methodological Issues In Bilingualism And Multilingualism Research. In T. K. Bhatia And W. C. Ritchie (Eds.), The Handbook Of Bilingualism And Multilingualism (2nd Ed.). Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.
Li, W. and Moyer, M. G. (2008). The Blackwell Guide to Research Methods in Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Li, X., Liu, Z., Song, M., Cai, M. and Liu, Y. (2008). The Value of Code-Switching in Bilingual Instruction [应重视语码转换在双语教学中的运用]. China Higher Education Research [中国高教研究], 2: 82–83.
Luke, K. K. and Richards, J. C. (1982). English in Hong Kong: Functions and Status. English Worldwide, 3, 47–64.
Maher, J. C. (2017). Multilingualism: A Very Short Introduction. https://doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2019.1603235
Myers-Scotton, C. (2006). Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Samsi, Y. S. (2016). Code Switching and Code Mixing In Tourism Industry Toward Multilingual. Script Journal, 1(2): 144–151.
Stapa, S. H. and Khan, N. N. B. S. (2016). Functions of Code-Switching: A Case Study of a Mixed Malay-Chinese Family in the Home Domain. Pertanika Journal Of Social Sciences and Humanities, 24(February): 181–194.
Tsung, L. T. H. and Cruickshank, K. (2009). Mother Tongue and Bilingual Minority Education in China. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 12(5): 549–563. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050802209871
Wang, J. and Huang, G. (2004). A Tenor Analysis of Code-Switching in Newspaper Discourses [语篇基调与报章语码转换]. Foreign Language Teaching and Research [外语教学与研究], 36(5): 331–336.
Wu, Y. A. (1985). Code-Mixing by English-Chinese Bilingual Teachers of the People’s Republic of China. World Englishes, 4(3): 303–317.
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971x.1985.tb00421.x
Zhang, N. (2006). On the Rhetorical Function of Code-Mixing of English and Chinese in the Magazines and Periodicals from SARS [从SARS看报刊杂志中英汉语码混合的修辞功能]. Journal of Anhui Agricultural University (Social Science Edition) [安徽农业大学学报(社会科学版)], 15(1): 132–134.
Zhang, W. (2005). Code-Choice in Bidialectal Interaction: The Choice Between Putonghua and Cantonese in a Radio Phone-in Program in Shenzhen. Journal Of Pragmatics, 37(3 SPEC.ISS.): 355–374.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2004.10.007
Zhang, W. (2012). Chinese-English Code-Mixing Among China’s Netizens: Chinese-English Mixed-Code Communication is Gaining Popularity on the Internet. English Today, 28(3): 40–52.
https://doi.org/10.1017/s0266078412000260
Zhang, W. (2015). Multilingual Creativity on China’s Internet. World Englishes, 34(2): 231–246. https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12135
Zhang, W., Bolton, K. and Botha, W. (2020). English in the People’s Republic of China. In C. L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, and D. R. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of World Englishes (2nd Edi). John Wiley And Sons, Inc.
Zhang, Y. (2020). Adopting Japanese in a Popular Chinese Video-Sharing Website: Heteroglossic and Multilingual Communication by Online Users of bilibili.com. International Multilingual Research Journal, 14(1): 20–40.
https://doi.org/10.1080/19313152.2019.1627856
Zhong, X., Ang, L. H. and Sharmini, S. (2023). Systematic Literature Review of Conversational Code-Switching in Multilingual Society from a Sociolinguistic Perspective. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 13(2): 318–330.
https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.1302.06



Full CALA 2022 Proceedings book