Chinese bilingualism

Him Cheung, Foong-Ha Yap and Virginia Yip

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Chinese bilingualism


Bilingualism is by no means a simple phenomenon. When it involves Chinese it is complicated further because of the huge geographical spread of Chinese communities around the globe. Bilingualism is better seen as a multi-parameter, socio-political-linguistic phenomenon, the processing and final results of which may not, and should not, be directly compared to those of the ‘standards’ produced by native speakers. This article discusses three aspects of Chinese bilingualism. First, it illustrates the cognition and neuro-cognition of language as well as general processing in bilingual people who speak Chinese as either their dominant or subordinate language. Second, it examines young children's acquisition of Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) together with another language in different contexts. Third, it looks at language use at a pragmatic level in a bilingual population under broad sociolinguistic contexts, discussing sociocultural factors that impact on the bilingual's verbal behaviour.

Keywords: Chinese bilingualism; Chinese morphology; contrastive dimension; sociolinguistic contexts; bilingual verbal memories

Article.  12906 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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