Language attitudes towards Singapore mandarin and putonghua : a comparison between Singaporean chinese and Chinese nationals
Ho, Yen Yee.
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
With the stabilisation of the Chinese diaspora all over the world and the rapid spread of Mandarin with the rise of China, many new varieties of Mandarin have emerged outside of China, but such “new Chineses” have hardly been researched upon in terms of language attitudes. With the increasing ties between Singapore and China, it seems useful and important to understand how people of these two countries view each other by examining the dynamics of the interactions between them. Thus, this study aims to uncover the attitudes that Singaporean Chinese and Chinese nationals have towards each other’s Mandarin variety in relation to their own Mandarin variety. To do so, 64 participants were recruited to take part in a matched-guise and verbal guise test to evaluate their language attitudes towards two varieties of Singapore Mandarin, Singapore Standard Mandarin (SSM) and Singapore Colloquial Mandarin (SCM), as well as Putonghua (PTH), on a 7-point Likert scale with respect to status and solidarity traits. This was followed by several optional open-ended questions which were aimed at uncovering possible reasons for their attitudes. Findings from this study revealed that both Singaporean Chinese and Chinese nationals view PTH as highest in status among the three varieties. However, their attitudes towards SSM and SCM differ, with Singaporean Chinese rating SSM higher than SCM on all traits and Chinese nationals rating SCM higher than SSM on all traits. Furthermore, interestingly, all three varieites of Mandarin, even the standard ones, are rated higher in terms of solidarity than status, suggesting that Mandarin is now seen as a language of solidarity.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University