Dominant Language–Ethnicity Notions of the Malaysian Chinese in Sarawak: Paternity or Patrimony?

Puah, Yann Yann and Ting, Suhie (2017) Dominant Language–Ethnicity Notions of the Malaysian Chinese in Sarawak: Paternity or Patrimony? Asian Studies Review, 41 (1). pp. 79-98. ISSN 10357823

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between language and ethnicity in the identities of Malaysian Chinese, using Fishman’s (1977) dimensions of paternity, patrimony and phenomenology. The data for the study were taken from language attitude questionnaires completed by 300 Chinese (150 Foochow, 150 Hokkien) and interviews with 18 participants (nine Foochow, nine Hokkien) living in Kuching, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The questionnaire results suggest that Chinese from the Foochow and Hokkien participant groups believe in both the paternity and patrimony dimensions of ethnicity, but the interview results also revealed a tendency towards viewing ethnicity as an inherited characteristic. Some are of the view that those who are of Foochow/Hokkien descent but cannot speak the ethnic language are “half Foochow/Hokkien”. The interview results also suggest that comparatively more Hokkien participants than Foochow participants may be inclined towards the patrimonial view of ethnicity. This finding is further supported by questionnaire results showing more frequent use of the ethnic language (Foochow/Hokkien) by the Hokkien than by the Foochow. Both sources of data provide evidence that Foochow and Hokkien in Malaysia use Mandarin for daily communication to a greater extent than their ethnic language. The findings indicate that ethnic language use is linked to conceptualisation of ethnicity

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese; ethnic identity; Ethnicity; language; paternity; patrimony, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Centre for Language Studies (rebranded to FLSCS in 2015)
Depositing User: Ibrahim
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2017 08:00
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2017 03:11
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/15333

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