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Title: Language ideologies, Chinese identities and imagined futures : perspectives from ethnic Chinese Singaporean university students
Authors: Toh, Audry Lin Lin
Liu, Hong
Keywords: Social sciences::Sociology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Toh, A. L. L. & Liu, H. (2021). Language ideologies, Chinese identities and imagined futures : perspectives from ethnic Chinese Singaporean university students. Journal of Chinese Overseas, 17(1), 1-30.
Project: 04INS000132C430
Journal: Journal of Chinese Overseas
Abstract: Since independence in 1965, the Singapore government has established a strongly mandated education policy with an English-first and official mother tongue Mandarin-second bilingualism. A majority of local-born Chinese have inclined toward a Western rather than Chinese identity, with some scholars regarding English as Singapore's "new mother tongue."Other research has found a more local identity built on Singlish, a localized form of English which adopts expressions from the ethnic mother tongues. However, a re-emergent China and new waves of mainland migrants over the past two decades seem to have strengthened Chinese language ideologies in the nation's linguistic space. This article revisits the intriguing relationships between language and identity through a case study of Chineseness among young ethnic Chinese Singaporeans. Guided by a theory of identity and investment and founded on survey data, it investigates the Chinese language ideologies of university students and their agency in choosing for themselves a Chinese imagined identity and community. Our survey found that ethnic Chinese Singaporean university students still possess a strong affinity for Mandarin and a desire to develop this aspect of their identity, in the context of Singapore's multiracial national identity. There exists a high propensity for imagined futures in Chineseness, with a majority of survey respondents who claimed English-speaking and bilingual identities also expressing the desire to become more bilingual and more Mandarin-speaking. This paper also deciphers the external and internal factors contributing to this development and suggests some areas of future research.
ISSN: 1793-0391
DOI: 10.1163/17932548-12341432
Rights: © 2021 Audrey Lin Lin Toh and Hong Liu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Journal Articles

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