© 2004

Language Policy in the People’s Republic of China

Theory and Practice Since 1949

  • Minglang Zhou
  • Hongkai Sun

Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 4)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction: The Context of the Theory and Practice of China’s Language Policy

  3. Theory and Practice in the Center

  4. The Center Versus The Periphery in Practice

  5. Theorizing Personal Experiences from the Practice

  6. Theory and Practice Viewed from Minority Communities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 219-219
    2. Feng Wang
      Pages 277-287

About this book


Language matters in China. It is about power, identity, opportunities, and, above all, passion and nationalism. During the past five decades China’s language engineering projects transformed its linguistic landscape, affecting over one billion people’s lives, including both the majority and minority populations. The Han majority have been juggling between their home vernaculars and the official speech, Putonghua – a speech of no native speakers – and reading their way through a labyrinth of the traditional, simplified, and Pinyin (Roman) scripts. Moreover, the various minority groups have been struggling between their native languages and Chinese, maintaining the former for their heritages and identities and learning the latter for quality education and socioeconomic advancement.

The contributors of this volume provide the first comprehensive scrutiny of this sweeping linguistic revolution from three unique perspectives. First, outside scholars critically question the parities between constitutional rights and actual practices and between policies and outcomes. Second, inside policy practitioners review their own project involvements and inside politics, pondering over missteps, undergoing soul-searching, and theorizing their personal experiences. Third, scholars of minority origin give inside views of policy implementations and challenges in their home communities. The volume sheds light on the complexity of language policy making and implementing as well as on the politics and ideology of language in contemporary China.


China Chinese Korea Pinyin Policy Politics language native speaker

Editors and affiliations

  • Minglang Zhou
    • 1
  • Hongkai Sun
    • 2
  1. 1.Dickinson CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Chinese Academy of Social SciencesChina

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Language Policy in the People’s Republic of China
  • Book Subtitle Theory and Practice Since 1949
  • Editors Minglang Zhou
    Hongkai Sun
  • Series Title Language Policy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2004
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4020-8038-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-017-4032-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4020-8039-5
  • Series ISSN 1571-5361
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIX, 345
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociolinguistics
    Political Science
    Asian Languages
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


From the reviews:

"This volume tries to give an overview of ‘the dramatic linguistic revolution that has swept across China’ during the second half of the twentieth century. … In the 19 papers which this book presents, the reader is made well aware of the enormous complexities involved in language-planning in a country with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. … This quite detailed and scholarly study can be read by anyone with a deeper interest in Chinese culture, language, society." (E. Van Laerhoven, Acta Comparanda, Vol. XVI, 2005)