A Billion Voices: China’s Search for a Common Language

Moser, David. A billion voices: China’s search for a common language. Penguin Books, 2016. 100 p. ISBN : 978-0-7343-9959-5

9780734399595Mandarin, Guoyu or Putonghua? ‘Chinese’ is a language known by many names, and China is a country home to many languages. Since the turn of the twentieth century linguists and politicians have been on a mission to create a common language for China. From the radical intellectuals of the May Fourth Movement, to leaders such as Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, all fought linguistic wars to push the boundaries of language reform. Now, Internet users take the Chinese language in new and unpredictable directions. David Moser tells the remarkable story of China’s language unification agenda and its controversial relationship with modern politics, challenging our conceptions of what it means to speak and be Chinese.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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