Chinese language and social justice

Authored by: Susan D. Blum

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter will provide an overview of the intersections between language and social justice in Greater China. Like many nation-states that were either created or reshaped in the 20th century, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore and Hong Kong have all established language policies. In practice, the actual use of language does not always match that of the language policy, as law, policy, attitudes and practice intertwine. In response to or sometimes disregarding these language policies, the 21st century has witnessed significant social movements involving resistance to the standardization and domination of languages. Issues of rights and identities are always political; contestation over language is always a contest over power and dignity.

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