Chinese Dialect Exploration and Interview

Project 1: Chinese Dialect Exploration and Interview


You will need to cite references whenever you get the information from an article or from some online resources. In the written report, you need to include the following:


Title: An Exploration of [Dialect Name (spoken where)]

  1. Introduction

Introduce the geography of the dialect and which particular dialect variant you are focusing on. Give basic introduction about how many people are using this dialect and its current situation. Provide a map to indicate the dialectal grouping and the location of the speakers of the dialect.


  1. Linguistic Features of [Dialect Name (spoken where)]

Explore the following topics and introduce the differences between this dialect and Standard Chinese (Mandarin) in an organized and systematic way.

  • Syllable structure
  • Initial consonants
  • Finals (Rhymes)
  • Medials
  • Basic tones
  • Tone changes (optional: you get additional points if you explore this one)
  • Lexical or syntactic differences

To be able to do this section, you need to find resources online or from the library that reliably analyzed a dialect and systematically introduces this dialect or a dialect closely related to it. At the end of this linguistic description, summarize the speech features of speakers of this dialect when s/he uses Standard Chinese. What features do you expect a speaker of this dialect may carry into Standard Chinese? Are the differences going to be drastic enough to be detectable?


  1. Method:

In this section, you introduce the linguistic and social background of your interviewee(s).

  1. Informant Background: Personal profile (gender, age, relevant linguistic and educational history, family background) [Have your interviewee fill out a linguistic background form provided by Prof. Lin]
  2. Setting (time and location of the interview, how was it documented?)


  1. Findings: Sociolinguistic aspect of the dialect according to the interview

You will present the interview results in an organized way. You should discuss the following issues related to the dialect:

  • What is the status of the particular dialect in relation to Mandarin? Discuss the issues related to diglossia (high versus low varieties). What are the social functions of the dialects? When do people use them and when do they not use them but opt for other languages and dialects? Compare the different uses of different dialects or speech variants.
  • Ask your interviewee his or her experiences with “accents”. How do people sound if they have accents? Do people using the dialects carry a special accent speaking Mandarin? How are people with accents perceived? Are there social stigma, attitudes, and identity issues associated with the dialect? How are people speaking this dialect usually perceived? Why do you think there are these social meanings that go with the accented speech?
  • How has this dialect changed in recent years, which may be associated with the above social political properties?


  1. Online resources useful for understanding the social and cultural situation of the dial

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