Volume 30, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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This article provides information of language behavior practices and identity change of members of the Fangshang Hui community in Xi’an, China. The study explores how differences in residential space influence language behavior as well as the way in which community identity is perceived. Two areas were studied, the traditional Hui community area “around the mosque” and the new area of modern flats. Data were collected via two-hundred questionnaires and forty sociolinguistic interviews. The survey was administered in 2016. Aspects of language behavior and language choice were related to residential area. The findings show that change of residential area has a significant effect on language choice behavior. Language choice was calculated according to the extent of use in community internal and external interactions. The varieties involved were the Fangshang Hui variety, the Xi’an dialect and Mandarin Chinese. Divergent linguistic behavior is related to altered Hui identity, which divides the community into home-dialect oriented and official-language oriented members. ‘Differential recurrence’ is introduced as the mechanism that creates language and identity change and is presented as contribution to sociolinguistic theory.


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