Multilingualism in Greater China and the Chinese Language Diaspora

Sherman Lee, Chor Shing David Li

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Greater China consists of four distinct polities: Mainland China; Taiwan; and the two Special Administrative Regions-Hong Kong and Macao. Largescale migration from these regions has also resulted in a huge Chinese language diaspora across the globe. Altogether, the communities subsumed under these two entities-Greater China and the Chinese diaspora-represent an incredible array of cultural and linguistic heritages, language situations, and multilingual resources. This chapter gives a sociolinguistic overview of those communities: their historical background, sources of linguistic diversity; and issues pertaining to bi-/multilingualism including language policies, bilingual education, language shift, language maintenance, and institutional support. Following some demographic and historical background that is necessary for understanding current linguistic diversity in China, this chapter highlights selected issues that impact the linguistic milieu and multilingual practices of this migrant population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781444334906
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2012


  • Bilingualism
  • Chinese language diaspora
  • Greater China
  • Language maintenance
  • Language shift
  • Multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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