Language policy

Language policy

Chinese minority languages face extinction
China’s minority languages face the threat of extinction, a new study has found. A WordFinder study, based on UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, has found that 25 ethnic minority languages in China are now being pushed to the brink of extinction. One language, known as Fuyu Kyrgyz, can be traced back to central Siberia three centuries ago, but is now only spoken by 10 elderly residents of Fuyu County, in China’s northernmost Heilongjiang province, the study found. Li Jinfang, an ethnic minority language researcher from Beijing’s Minzu University of China, believed China’s urbanization and rapidly developing economy had contributed to the decline, with people finding it more
China’s trying to promote a national language. Not everyone is pleased
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. China has been promoting the use of Mandarin as the country’s official language for decades, but this official push for “linguistic unity” has proved difficult in the vast country. China’s 1.4 billion residents speak hundreds of mutually unintelligible languages and dialects. National figures show that some 270 million people, or about one in five people, do not speak Mandarin. The official efforts to promote Mandarin have met resistance in regions with large ethnic minority populations who fear losing their culture and language. In August 2020, a governm