Reordering Languages Along China’s Borders

  • Minglang ZhouEmail author


This chapter explores the relationship between Chinese and minority languages and that between Chinese and languages on the neighbors’ side of the border in China’s borderization. It proposes two concepts, the centrifugality and centripetality of language orders, to capture the dynamic relationship among language orders of the Chinese state, border communities, and neighbors. First, the chapter examines cases that illuminate how the centrifugality of the state language order drives, through national markets and compulsory education, the spread of Putonghua to border communities and across the borders. Second, it investigates cases that demonstrate how the centripetality of local language orders maintains local languages, through family and community social networks, against the onslaughter of Putonghua. These two processes engage interactive linguistic border and citizenship making in China’s border communities.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maryland College ParkCollege ParkUSA

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