Strong and Weak Dialects of China: How Cantonese Succeeded Whereas Shaan’Xi Failed with the Help of Media

  •  Yu-Han Mao    
  •  Hugo Yu-Hsiu Lee    


This research addresses an important set of social scientific issues—how language maintenance between dominant and vernacular varieties of speech—also known as dialects—are conditioned by increasingly globalized mass media industries that are created by them and accompany them. In particular, it examines how the television series and film industries (as an outgrowth of the mass media) related to social dialectology help maintain and promote one regional variety of speech over the other. The value of this thesis is ultimately judged by its contribution to the sociolinguistic literature. All of these issues and data addressed in the current study have the potential to make a contribution to the current understanding of social dialectology literature—a sub-branch of sociolinguistics—particularly with respect to the language maintenance literature. The researcher adopts a multi-method approach (literature review, interviews and observations) to collect and analyze data. The research is found support to confirm two positive correlations: the number of production of dialectal television series (and films) and the distribution of the dialect in question, as well as the number of dialectal speakers and the maintenance of the dialect under investigation.

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