Chinese language maintenance in Winnipeg

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Xiao, Hong.
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This dissertation is concerned with the maintenance of Chinese as an ethnic community language in Winnipeg, Canada. Both a language use survey, carried out with 122 individuals, and participant-observation in the Chinese community in Winnipeg were used as means of data collection. It was found that Chinese, in its various dialectal forms, is still widely used among the Chinese in Winnipeg, especially in the family domain, with the grandparent generation, and where the Chinese culture is prevalent. Overt behaviour toward Chinese, reflected in language maintenance efforts and language consciousness, and the bilingual and bidialectal phenomena of code-switching in this community were also studied. The findings show that, overt behaviour toward Chinese influences the maintenance of the ethnic culture and ethnic group continuity, but the differences in the community network structures and ethnocultural boundaries had an even greater effect on the maintenance of Chinese within different groups in the community at different times. Moreover, the bilingual and bidialectal phenomena of code-switching were shown to reflect the network-specific norms of language use within the community.