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Chinese industrial urban teenage girls address forms

Poster (konferens)
Författare Guohua Hu
Publicerad i Urban Language Seminar 10 Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Språk en
Ämneskategorier Samhällsvetenskap, Språkstudier


Abstract Many Western people still believe that all Asians bow holding together their palms when greeting like Japanese or Thai, but Chinese do not behave this way. Rapid economic growth has dramatically influenced social status. We still know very little about how Chinese address each others when greeting, especially how the growing generation addresses and speaks about each others and their fellowmen. This article shows in what way Chinese teenagers use terms of address like proper names, titles, and kinship. They were admonished to tell how they speak to/about people they treat as their intimates like parents, teachers, classmates etc in different environments (at home or not at home), mood (glad or angry), occasion (present or absent) and relationship (not good, good, very good). This pilot fieldwork was conducted in 2011 in Anshan, Liaoning Province – one of the biggest iron and steel industry bases in China. The participants were nine teenage girls 16 or 17 years old, belonging to the Han people. They all live in one-child families and are in first grade of high school. Only one informant was not born in Anshan but she, like all the other members, grew up and attended school in Anshan. The reason why only girls volunteered to take part in this investigation was that all the boys used the possibility to play football during the lunchtime when the investigation took place. The questionnaires were filled in and collected, during a meeting with them in their classroom and lasted for around 40 minutes, but continued via QQ (MSN) later in the proced-ure. Each internet-interview lasted for between two and three hours depending on time differ-ence and if/when they were online. The chatting focused on family background, living area, nurture, hobbies, daily life and even gossips. The results present that the kinship words are still used in the traditional way but less frequently. There is a slow adjustment to the changes (e.g. one-child families) of population policy in China. The borders of pet names and nicknames seem to be uncertain. The form teacher’s role is essential; the pupils feel like a family under her supervision, here a pseudo name is used. It is interesting that these teenagers’ strictly structured life leaves very little free time for socializing so they have to compensate that by nicknaming each others. It is plausible that these results can predict tendencies even though there were very few informants.

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