I just found out about this new book on local languages in China. Judging from the abstract and table of contents, it looks very interesting and promising: Signifying the Local: Media Productions Rendered in Local Languages in Mainland China in the New Millennium. The publisher's blurb:
In Signifying the Local, Jin Liu examines contemporary cultural productions rendered in local languages and dialects (fangyan) in the fields of television, cinema, music, and literature in Mainland China. This ground-breaking interdisciplinary research provides an account of the ways in which local-language media have become a platform for the articulation of multivocal, complex, and marginal identities in post-socialist China. Viewed from the uniquely revealing perspective of local languages, the mediascape of China is no longer reducible to a unified, homogeneous, and coherent national culture, and thus renders any monolithic account of the Chinese language, Chineseness, and China impossible.
The table of contents:
Chapter One: A Historical Review of the Discourse of the Local in Twentieth-Century China
Chapter Two: An Overview of Television Series Productions in the 2000s
Chapter Three: Alternative Translation: Performativity in Dubbing Films in Local Languages
Chapter Four: Empowering Local Community: TV News Talks Shows in Local Languages
Chapter Five: Ambivalent Laughter: Comic Sketches in CCTV's Spring Festival Eve Gala
Chapter Six: Popular Music and Local Youth Identity in the Age of the Internet
Chapter Seven: The Rhetoric of Local Languages as the Marginal: Chinese Underground and Independent Films by Jia Zhangke and Others
Chapter Eight: Multiplicity in Mainstream Studio Films in Local Languages
Chapter Nine: The Unassimilated Voice in Recent Fiction in Local Languages
This reminds me of another recent book that deals with the media and Wu/吳 (Shanghainese) literature: Alexander Des Forges, Mediasphere Shanghai (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007).
Around the same time, Edward M. Gunn, Jr. published his Rendering the Regional: Local Language in Contemporary Chinese Media, also from the University of Hawai'i Press (2006).
Another valuable book that deserves to be mentioned in this context is Donald B. Snow's Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular (Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Press, 2004).
Also worthy of our attention is Henning Klöter's Written Taiwanese, studia formosiana 2 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005).
Considering our longstanding interest with Chinese languages and topolects here on Language Log, it is indeed exciting to have these books available. I'm sure that they will stimulate further discussion of these important topics.