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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 1, 2012

Language and power: Tuanjie hua, an Yi-Han mixed language

  • Linda Tsung, EMAIL logo


The Yi people of southwest China constitute the country's seventh largest minority group. Due to constant interaction between local Yi and Han Chinese, the Yi language and local varieties of Chinese have intermingled, forming a new code-mixing language which residents refer to as Tuanjie hua. To investigate its distinctive characteristics, as well as its social and psychological implications, we conducted a field trip to Xichang City in Sichuan Province and the nearby counties and villages where Yi people and Han people live in close proximity to each other. Our research reveals that more Yi people than Han people speak Tuanjie hua, that they use it mainly in informal situations, and that use of the variety is negatively correlated with speakers' educational levels. These results suggest that use of Tuanjie hua is constrained by a number of social factors: power, policy, education, intensity of contact, and social situation.

Published Online: 2012-05-01
Published in Print: 2012-05-17

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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