Language Diversity in the Sinophone World

Language Diversity in the Sinophone World: Policies, effects, and tradition

International Symposium
Göttingen University
11 – 13 June 2015


Language diversity is a ubiquitous feature in the sinophone world. In the past and present, language planning agencies in the area commonly – if not uncontroversially – referred to as “Greater China” have responded differently to the challenges of multilingualism. After several decades of national language policy, Mandarin is now widely used and broadly accepted in Mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan. It is used to a much lesser degree in Hong Kong and Macao, where Cantonese, the major regional language, arguably enjoys a higher prestige than other so‐called “dialects” elsewhere. At the same time, there are notable differences with regard to international language planning – most important, the incorporation of English into school curricula and/or the acceptance of English as an official language.

One purpose of the symposium is to bring together scholars who are working on language planning and official responses to language diversity. Another purpose is to compare the effects of language planning and the manifestations of language diversity in the daily lives of the speakers. Lastly, we aim at situating the conference theme in a historical context. The reason behind this historical contextualization is to find out to what extent language-related phenomena are imbedded in Chinese traditions, and to what extent they can be accounted for by analytical approaches that are not bound to Chinese culture and/or history. Topics include language contact phenomena (e.g., code mixing), multilingualism in classrooms, language variation and language use in the media, and nonofficial language ideologies and activities of language revivalist groups.

Göttingen University, Historical Observatory

Local organizers and contact persons
Henning Klöter
Julia Schulz

If you wish to attend the conference, please contact us before 20 May 2015 at

Speakers and programm (pdf)


cckf_logoChiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / DruckGerman Research Foundation (DFG)


Department of International and Cross-strait Education of the Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan)