Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin



E-mail this page 1

Dissertation Information


Title: 'Language, Politics and Identity: The Making of a Taiwanese Language' Add Dissertation
Author: Loretta Tam Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: 'http://hku-hk.academia.edu/LorettaTam'
Degree Awarded: 'Chinese University of Hong Kong' , 'Department of Anthropology'
Completed in:
2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): 'Anthropological Linguistics'
Subject Language(s): 'Chinese, Min Nan'
Language Family(ies): 'Sino-Tibetan'
Director(s): Chee-Beng Tan

Abstract: This doctoral thesis looks into the government-led language revitalization campaign in Taiwan with special reference to the case of Hokkien, one of the “ben sheng” (local) vernaculars with Han Chinese roots, in terms of language rights, ethnogenesis, and cultural legitimacy. Tracing the rise and development of concepts such as cultural heritage, ethnic identity and democracy in the region, the focus is placed on the recent changes in Taiwan’s language ideology and the intricate emergence of Hokkien as one of the “national” languages and symbols apart from the official language i.e. Mandarin Chinese.


Against the backdrop where contesting discourses on language and culture discourses co-exist and crossbreed with each other, there are a number of closely-related issues that this thesis examines in particular: (1) the ways in which language choices are made and perceived in various contexts; (2) implications of such language choices as related to one’s cultural identities; (3) the role of language politics in self and group identification and ethnic classification in Taiwan; (4) the power dynamics in various socio-cultural spheres; and (5) the resulting competition of multiple speech groups in Taiwan for authenticity, legitimacy and superiority in the political arena by means of reconstruction and reinvention of ethnic languages and traditions.


The findings reveal that despite the practical relevance of Bakhtin’s theory of heteroglossia to Taiwan’s current ethnogenesis against the backdrop of multilingualism and multiculturalism, the political connections between the cultural plurality promoted by the government and the covert competition amongst various stakeholders are better understood in terms of Bourdieu’s theory of cultural reproduction and Foucault’s framework of power-knowledge. Language revitalization in Taiwan is thus an act of both empowerment and control, and a symbol of the mutual toleration and the cultural ambiguity that means to be used for contrasting with the old hegemonies’ conservatism by the current ruling power.