Urbanization, education, and language behavior
The case of Jilin University students
This paper reports the language behavior of a sample of Jilin University students. The data were collected in 2008, and a total of 2682 questionnaires were processed. The sample was detailed as to place-of-origin, year of study, college, and gender, and addressed language behavior and language attitude. Students originated from three areas: the Northeast, the Mandarin dialect area, and Southeastern China. Most students came from township environments and grew up there. The NE is relatively more urbanized as the result of early industrialization, but the Southeast, as regards family income, was the richer area. The study relates the reported language behavior to urban status, education and income level of parents, as well as to level of PTH pronunciation. It also addressed students’ attitude toward Putonghua dominance, and code-switching. Code-switching with English words also was studied. Generally, proportionally more students with backgrounds in major urban centers (provincial cities and municipalities) claim Putonghua as first and best language than students originating from townships. Larger numbers of students with the latter background, however, show increased proficiency in Putonghua. Language use data, finally, make clear that in all three areas, the local and regional dialects are the majority means of communication, whereas the use of Putonghua increases across generations from grandparents to same generation kin.