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  1. Sounding the nation [electronic resource] : dialect and the making of modern China

    Tam, Gina Anne

    This dissertation argues that the concept of "dialect" was fundamental to the formation of modern Chinese nationalism and identity. I contend that elite and non-elite groups, inspired by diverse conceptualizations of nation, local place, and self, relegated China's myriad local languages to the status of 'dialect' -- a category that simultaneously webbed local communities to the broader concept of the Chinese nation, but also excluded them by placing them outside of the idealized form of "standard" Chinese. By tracing how the meaning of dialect was transformed by nineteenth-century Western missionaries, early twentieth-century artists and academics, and finally, the Nationalist and Communist governments, I show how Chinese—both as a language and as a national and ethnic moniker— was not just heterogeneous, but something that state-defined standards could not adequately capture.

  2. Dialect and nationalism in China, 1860-1960

    Tam, Gina Anne, 1986-
    Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2020

    Taking aim at the conventional narrative that standard, national languages transform 'peasants' into citizens, Gina Anne Tam centers the history of the Chinese nation and national identity on fangyan - languages like Shanghainese, Cantonese, and dozens of others that are categorically different from the Chinese national language, Mandarin. She traces how, on the one hand, linguists, policy-makers, bureaucrats and workaday educators framed fangyan as non-standard 'variants' of the Chinese language, subsidiary in symbolic importance to standard Mandarin. She simultaneously highlights, on the other hand, the folksong collectors, playwrights, hip-hop artists and popular protestors who argued that fangyan were more authentic and representative of China's national culture and its history. From the late Qing through the height of the Maoist period, these intertwined visions of the Chinese nation - one spoken in one voice, one spoken in many - interacted and shaped one another, and in the process, shaped the basis for national identity itself.

    Online Cambridge University Press


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