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Volume 2, Issue 4, July 2014, Page: 246-251
What Language (s) Should a Chinese Child Speak: Mandarin or Dialect or Both
Qiaoling Wu, College of Foreign Languages, China Three Gorges University, Yichang, China
Xiaoqiong Hu, College of Foreign Languages, China Three Gorges University, Yichang, China
Received: May 22, 2014;       Accepted: Jun. 27, 2014;       Published: Jul. 10, 2014
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijll.20140204.11      View  3243      Downloads  191
Abstract
Children’s language acquisition is usually significantly influenced by their parents’ attitude towards a certain language. This paper attempts to investigate Chinese parents’ views regarding what language(s) their children should speak: Mandarin, dialect or both, as well as the reasons for their opinions. The research is mainly carried out through questionnaires targeted at Chinese parents of young children. It is shown that parents give different degrees of preference to Mandarin and Chinese dialect which are thus spoken at different frequencies. Mandarin, as the standard form of Chinese, is reckoned as much more useful and as a marker of being better educated, so it is vigorously advocated as the first language children are expected to acquire. It can largely account for why most children of the new generation are not able to speak any Chinese dialect. Even so, more than half of the parents investigated still consider speaking dialect to be essential due to its particular superiority in expressing friendliness and transmitting traditional culture. Based on the research findings, we tentatively conclude that most parents, faced with what language a child should acquire as the first language, generally attach more importance to the function of a certain language. However, both Mandarin and dialect need to be spoken for the sake of maintaining individual identity as well as cultural prosperity.
Keywords
Mandarin, Chinese Dialect, Language Attitude, Language Use, Parents, Children
To cite this article
Qiaoling Wu, Xiaoqiong Hu, What Language (s) Should a Chinese Child Speak: Mandarin or Dialect or Both, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 2, No. 4, 2014, pp. 246-251. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20140204.11
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