Sociolinguistics in China

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


This article gives a brief introduction to sociolinguistics in China. Chinese sociolinguistics started with the introduction of Western sociolinguistic theories at the end of the 1970s. It did not become mature until the turn of the 21st century. After more than 40 years of development, Chinese sociolinguistics has now covered a variety of topics and themes. Among them, the most popular are “language life,” “language planning,” “language variations,” and “urban language studies.” After providing a brief introduction to the historical development of Chinese sociolinguistics, this article primarily focuses on some of the most popular topics in that field. Although Chinese sociolinguistics still relies on the introduction and incorporation of Western sociolinguistic theories, it has gradually formed its own research agenda. In the meantime, it has also attempted to adapt Western theories to the unique Chinese context and made some theoretical and methodological innovations. Especially in view of the growing urbanization and industrialization taking place in China, Chinese sociolinguistics is expected to play a growing important role in the country’s future development and lead to more breakthroughs in its theoretical and methodological developments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics
EditorsMark Aronoff
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199384655
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022


  • sociolinguistics
  • China
  • development
  • current trends
  • general features
  • future development


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