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Title: Cantonese or Putonghua? ---Language Choice in Zhuhai
Authors: YAN, ANQI (嚴安淇)
Department: Department of English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: YAN, A. Q. (2014). Cantonese or Putonghua? ---Language Choice in Zhuhai (Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS)). Retrieved from University of Macau, Outstanding Academic Papers by Students Repository.
Abstract: Zhuhai, adjacent to Macau, is one of the special economic zones assigned by Deng Xiaoping in 1980. Its intimate relationship with Macau and the policy of opening up, therefore, have brought considerable economic prosperity to Zhuhai. As a result, people of different social backgrounds keep pouring in from the rural or less developed areas, in the hope that they can find a job in this economically promising city. According to the statistics disclosed by the Zhuhai government, by the end of year 2011, the city has a total population of about 1.57 million, of which 1.06 million (67.5%) are official residents, and the rest 0.51million people (33.5%) are categorized as temporary population (The Chinese Communist Party in Zhuhai’s Committee, 2013). Putonghua, the nation’s official and standard language, is gradually gaining its prestige in Zhuhai as most of the immigrants and people from outside are introducing the use of Putonghua into the region. Moreover, as Putonghua has been promoted as the medium of classroom instruction by the government, the trend manifests itself that Putonghua is catching up and has posed a threat to the indigenous language of Cantonese. However, with a large proportion of local residents (67.5%), most of whom speak Cantonese as their mother tongue, Cantonese still remains practical and common in daily conversations among people. Besides homes and work places, Cantonese is also spoken in a variety of social domains. Now that both Cantonese and Putonghua seem to exert a comparable impact upon the ways people speak, the question now lies in how people are going to manage and choose between these two languages. Will they try to strike a balance between them? Or will the issue of language shift arise as Putonghua continues to permeate people’s daily lives? This paper will mainly focus on five case studies and discuss the possible factors that may determine the language choice of people in Zhuhai. The subjects of the cases are divided into two groups---the first one is the local group which includes three children who were born and raised in Zhuhai (all of their parents speak Cantonese); the second one is the immigrant group which examines two subjects (both of their parents speak Putonghua or other dialects) who were born outside of Guangdong province and moved to Zhuhai early in their childhood. Through comparisons and analyses conducted both within and across the two groups, this paper expects to find out the influential factors that play significant roles in people’s language choice in Zhuhai.
Course: English Studies
Instructor: Dr. SHAW, DAMIAN JOHN
Appears in Collections:FAH OAPS 2014

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