Language attitudes by university students in mainland China
Results of a survey in three cities
Through a questionnaire survey of non-local university students, this study examined direct language attitudes of English, Putonghua, and local dialects in the first-tier city Guangzhou, second-tier city Tianjin, and small city Yan’an. The significance of this study lies in two aspects: few of the previous studies examined language attitudes of non-local subjects; few of the previous studies compared attitudes toward three varieties across economically diverse cities. The study adopted Gardner & Lambert’s (1972) motivation theory to measure direct attitudes of the participants. Findings included that non-local students showed positive attitudes toward Cantonese both integratively and instrumentally but not toward the Tianjin and Yan’an dialects. Furthermore, students had positive integrative and instrumental attitudes toward Putonghua in all three cities. Finally, they showed high and positive integrative and instrumental attitudes toward English, with the means of Guangzhou and Tianjin higher than those of Yan’an. Future research should incorporate qualitative measures to provide a deeper understanding of language attitudes.
Keywords: language attitudes, high variety, low variety, integrative orientation, instrumental orientation
Published online: 10 August 2018
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