Introduction: Multilingualism in China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


This chapter introduces the three aspects of multilingualism by providing some historical context and an overview of the role and status of each in contemporary Chinese society and institutions. It considers some prevailing attitudes and beliefs, again, picking out some tensions that arise when these impact upon multilingual practices. The spoken forms of Chinese are far more diverse and perplexing than the writing systems. The retrocessions of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 1999 after centuries of colonial rule have raised its profile in those Special Administrative Regions where Cantonese has been the long-standing dominant variety of spoken Chinese, as discussed by Choi and Kan. In the 1950s, national and regional policies related to language use and education for minority groups reflected the government’s desire to stabilize the country with laws and directives granting minority groups the rights to use and develop their languages and cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual China
Subtitle of host publicationNational, minority and foreign languages
EditorsBob Adamson, Anwei Feng
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429286056
ISBN (Print)9780429286056
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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