Emergency Language Services in a Zhuang Village in the China-and-Vietnam Borderland

  •  Zhenyao Lu    
  •  Mengyi Luo    
  •  Hongmei Yang    
  •  Zhuyujie Zou    


As a localized sociolinguistic concept, emergency language services (ELS) have gained an increasing importance during the Covid-19 pandemic in China. Despite the nation-wide promotion of ELS, previous studies seem to center on the language practices in the cosmopolitan cities whereas our knowledge about the peripheral regions remains poorly understood. Given that China has the largest number of bordering countries, it is of significance to conduct ELS in the borderlands. Adopting ELS (Li, Rao, Zhang, & Li, 2020) as a theoretical framework, this study investigates what ELS have been available to a Zhuang-centered minority village in Yunnan bordering Vietnam and how local people respond to the Covid-19 related messages. Based on the semi-structured interviews with two village chiefs, one rural Zhuang doctor and six Zhuang people of different ages and language backgrounds, the study finds that there are insufficient language services available to Zhuang people who are lack of proficiency in Putonghua. The grassroots efforts yet play critical roles, including rural Zhuang doctor who provides emotional support and medical treatment, and village chiefs working as language broker translating Putonghua-mediated messages into Zhuang oral language through the multiple social media. The findings and results of the study can shed lights on providing effective language services for Chinese multilingual population from peripheral regions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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