Article published in:Developments in Diglossic Settings in the Asian Pacific Region
Edited by Marinus van den Berg
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 30:1/2] 2020
► pp. 172–216
Natives, migrants and communication practices in the Xi’an speech community
The role of discourse communities and the Putonghua koine community in China
This paper reports the results of direct observations of language use and sociolinguistic interviews in Xi’an city, Shaanxi province, China. The data were collected in the autumn of 2018. Direct observations were done in four vegetable and fruit markets providing a data set of 1,708 cases. A sample of market customers was also interviewed resulting in 168 interviews. The interview data made clear that in migrant families, home-town dialects are well maintained, but that for interactions in the city, PTH is preferred as it is for work-related interactions. The observation data showed that ninety percent of interactions between customers and salespeople were performed in either the Xi’an dialect or PTH. These two varieties were used in various combinations confirming wide-spread use of multilingual exchanges. These exchanges are further specified as speech-community-internal interactions, home-dialect exchanges and lingua franca exchanges. Community integration of migrants is clarified through the concept of the discourse communities. The latter structure the modern Xi’an speech community and connect to the national level PTH Koine Community.
Keywords: sociolinguistic survey, migration, pre-1978 industrialization, western modernization movement, speech community, discourse community, koine community, Hukou system, Xi’an city
Published online: 30 June 2020
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