Language Policy in China: Recent Field Investigations

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Researcher, Center for Cultural Studies
Affiliation: Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: 32, Nakhimovsky Av., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 4

The recent large-scale field investigations show that the ethnic and language situation in China is much more complex than it seemed before the end of the 1970s, and China remains one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse countries in the world. However, many languages of various ethnic groups and many Chinese dialects, both known in the past or recently discovered, are spoken by no more than a few members of the older generation. Among the most important tasks, set for the linguistic community by the Chinese authorities, is the investigation and preservation on electronic carriers of numerous languages of the peoples of China, any Chinese dialects and the samples of local cultures. The data collected in 2015-2019 within a large-scale “Program for the preservation of Chinese language resources” is represented in numerous publications devoted in particular to the endangered languages of China and on a unique online platform accessible for the linguists and partially for any Internet users. The next stage of the field studies of the language and local cultural heritage of China was officially initiated in 2020.

KeywordsLanguages of China, Chinese dialects, local cultures, language surveys
Publication date01.09.2022
Number of characters14264
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