Analyzing Parental Language Attitudes Toward Cantonese, Mandarin and English in Guangdong, China



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Cantonese is the cultural marker of Guangdong, which is also the center of Yue culture. With the economic development of Guangdong, Mandarin and English are becoming popular and necessary for people. This study investigated parents’ language attitudes towards Cantonese, Mandarin, and English in Guangdong, China. In this study, four research questions were answered: what factors affect parents’ language attitudes toward Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, how essential parents think Cantonese, Mandarin, and English are, and how valuable parents think Cantonese, Mandarin, and English are. The participants were asked to complete a survey about their language attitudes toward Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. The three factors of language attitudes are The Impact of Official Language-Mandarin, The Impact of Language Identity, and The Impact of Unofficial Language-Cantonese and English. The results indicate that Mandarin is the most important and the most useful language for the participants. Additionally, the participants indicated that they speak Mandarin more often than the other two languages in the public domain. English is the second most essential and valuable language for the participants; however, the participants rarely speak English at home or in public areas. Even though parents use Cantonese more frequently than Mandarin and English at home, they rated Cantonese as the lowest in terms of its importance and usefulness. This study also investigated how the factors of gender, age, occupation and education level affect language attitudes. According to the results, gender, age and education level have great influences on three factors of language attitudes, but occupation only has impact on The Impact of Language Identity. This thesis discussed and explained in details of all results.



Cantonese, Mandarin, English, language attitude, language policy, parents, Guangdong, China