Chinese Teenager’s Perceptions of Vitality of Hokkien Chinese in Penang, Malaysia

Ting, Su Hie and Teng, Jonathan Zie Ming (2021) Chinese Teenager’s Perceptions of Vitality of Hokkien Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. International Journal of Sociology of Language, 272. pp. 185-217. ISSN 1613-3668

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The study assessed the Chinese teenagers’ perceptions of vitality of Hokkien Chinese in Penang using the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS). The survey involved 156 students aged 13-19 (100 Hokkien; 56 non-Hokkien Chinese). The results showed that the vitality of Hokkien in Penang is at EGIDS Level 6b (Threatened). The identity function of Hokkien in Penang is that of a home language, and children are the youngest generation of Hokkien speakers. The stability of the diglossic situation between Hokkein and Mandarin has been disrupted due to Mandarin encroaching into oral domains of language use, particularly the friendship and education domains. Both Hokkien and non-Hokkien teenagers have positive attitudes towards Hokkien. Chinese educational background is the only social factor that makes a significant difference in Hokkien usage among the Chinese teenagers, while gender, socio-economic status and language attitudes have no signficant effect on Hokkien usage. In view of this, institutional support for Mandarin is the most important structural factor that has a clear, but adverse, impact on Hokkien usage. Hokkien cannot compete with the functions of Mandarin as a marker of Chinese identity in Malaysia, a gateway to career and business opportunities, and a global language within the Chinese diaspora.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese; Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS); Hokkien; language attitudes; language shift; vitality
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Centre for Language Studies (rebranded to FLSCS in 2015)
Depositing User: Hie
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 03:06
Last Modified: 12 May 2022 06:51

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