Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This study measures languages attitudes of 82 college students in Shanghai and Guangzhou, where language planning has promoted Putonghua (PTH) over local varieties since 1956. Since the 1980s, industrialization, commercialization, and greater demographic mobility have changed what used to be homogeneous local variety speech communities, resulting in greater demand for PTH in cross-variety communication. Do language attitudes change with greater demand for PTH? A direct measurement shows that the Shanghainese and Cantonese are largely similar in language use but differ in language attitudes: instrumental motivation and impressions of stereotyped PTH speakers correlate differently with language use for these groups. An indirect measurement indicates that, because of low social distance, the Shanghainese and Cantonese as whole groups preferred neither PTH nor their respective local varieties, though the Shanghainese females significantly upgraded PTH on both social status and group solidarity, while the Shanghainese males upgraded Shanghainese. These findings do not conform well to the textbook-case dichotomy found in early studies between high and low varieties on the dimensions of social status and solidarity. The nonconforming language attitudes may represent attitude changes amid emerging patterns of language use in these two Pacific cities.


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