Archive for Language policy and planning

Political regulation of Chinese languages

The following article was published more than eleven years ago.  I do not recall being aware of it at that time.  It provides a wealth of still relevant information about the state of language affairs in the PRC — including Mandarin vs. the topolects and traditional forms of the characters vs. simplified — as well as other essential aspects of language pedagogy, such as challenging what it calls "Mandarin monoculture" and the inculcation of semi-literacy.  Since this insightful, informative essay was recently called to my attention by Jichang Lulu, I have decided to circulate it to students and colleagues via this post.

"Confucius Institutes and Controlling Chinese Languages"
Michael Churchman
The Australian National University

China Heritage Quarterly, 26 (June 2011)

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Indo-Sinitic language problems

China tells India to solve its language problem. (Source: /r/polandball)

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Super color Doppler, part 2

[This is a guest post by Greg Pringle, in response to questions I posed regarding the photograph at the top of this post from yesterday, mainly: 


What does the Mongolian script say?  Does it match the Chinese*?  Are there any mistakes in it?

*The Chinese is short for "in color with Doppler ultrasound".]

The Mongolian says önggöt – het dolgion – zurag (ᠥᠩᠭᠡᠲᠦ ᠬᠡᠲᠦ ᠳᠣᠯᠭᠢᠶᠠᠨ ᠵᠢᠷᠤᠭ). It literally means "coloured ultra-wave picture" or, as Google Translate has it, "colour ultrasound imaging”. My Inner Mongolian dictionaries confirm that önggöt het dolgion zurag means literally “彩色超声波图” in Chinese and it is found on the Internet with that meaning.

You quote Diana Shuheng Zhang as saying the Chinese means "Color Doppler Ultrasound". I did find önggöt doppler zuraglal (Өнгөт Допплер зураглал) "coloured Doppler sketch” in Mongolian-language pages on the Russian Internet, and Jichang Lulu found a couple of sources from Mongolia.

Rather than continue confirming what you already know, I think it fair to bring up the issue of terminology.

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Pro-Mandarin, anti-topolect movement in Singapore

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A hidden minority revealed

From S. Robert Ramsey:


Zhuang women posed for a photograph

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Saving a critically endangered language one child at a time

A recent blog on Miao/Hmong posted on Language Log reminded Chau Wu of an earlier news report from Taiwan about a 5th grade girl from Hla'alua (Lā'ālǔwa zú 拉阿魯哇族) who won a speech competition using her native language (article in Chinese).

"With fewer than 10 native speakers and an ethnic population of 400 people, Saaroa (= Hla'alua) is considered critically endangered," according to the article on Saaroa language in Wikipedia.

Here is a 4min-33sec YouTube video as a brief refresher on the small Austronesian tribe.

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Support for non-Mandarin languages and topolects in Taiwan

Judging from this article and other news I've been receiving on this subject in recent days, this is one more piece of evidence that Taiwan is serious about supporting languages and topolects other than MSM (Modern Standard Mandarin):

Taiwan university offers raises to encourage faculty to teach in native tongues

Instructors eligible for 50% hourly wage hike for conducting classes in Indigenous languages, Taiwanese, Hakka, Taiwan Sign Language, or Matsu dialect

By George Liao, Taiwan News (1/3/22)

The article is short but sweet:

National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) recently passed a national language development measure that encourages full-time faculty to teach courses in the country's native languages by raising their pay.

These languages include Taiwanese, Hakka, Indigenous tongues, the Matsu dialect, and Taiwan Sign Language, CNA reported.

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Diametrically opposed language policies

On one side of the Taiwan Strait, yesterday the PRC announced its draconian language policy for the coming decades:

"Important new policies on language and script in the PRC" (11/30/21)

Meanwhile, on the other side, Taiwan proclaimed a very different aspiration:

"2030 bilingual policy to help Taiwan connect with the world: NDC head", Focus Taiwan (12/1/21)

The policies are nothing new for either side, simply an intensification of their goals in recent years, the PRC more toward language standardization and monolingualism, and Taiwan more toward linguistic diversification and multilingualism.

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