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ERIC Number: ED533130
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 396
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-0271-5
Language Contact as Bilingual Contrast among Bai Language Users in Jianchuan County, China
Hefright, Brook Emerson
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
This dissertation explores Bai language use in Jianchuan County, China. On the basis of interviews with 42 language users, transcripts of spontaneous conversation and elicited narratives, excerpts from Bai texts in an alphabetic orthography and Chinese characters, and six months of participant observation, I demonstrate how language users' perceptions of Bai and Chinese as distinct languages emerge as the result of interactional and representational strategies that alternatively foreground and background bilingual contrast. I argue that these micro-level strategies exist in a dialectical relationship with macro-level governmental, academic, and lay discourses that represent the Bai and the Han as essentially different, ethnicity as isomorphic with language, and, consequently, diverse Bai linguistic practices as a distinct minority nationality language. By demonstrating that borders of communities cannot be relied upon to describe consensus about linguistic structure, use, or ideologies, this dissertation contributes to more realistic descriptions of language; relatedly, by showing that language users' perceptions of the elements in their repertoire as "Bai" or "Chinese" vary not only across language users, but also situations of use, it challenges synchronic theories of language contact that invoke community consensus to distinguish between "borrowing" and "code switching." More fundamentally, both lines of analysis entail that language users' interactional and representational strategies do not merely reproduce pre-existing contrast between languages, but also actively produce and transform it. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China