Chapter

Language Policy for the Yi

David Bradley

in Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780520219885
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935259 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520219885.003.0013
Language Policy for the Yi

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One of the first things the Chinese Communists did with the Yi, as they did with all ethnic groups, was to define them. In the linguistic realm, this also meant classifying them into dialects, subdialects, and local vernaculars. This was done not purely for scholarly reasons but also in order to facilitate the standardization and teaching of Yi languages. This chapter provides a comprehensive view of this classifying process and of the three different projects of standardization that have resulted in very different modern scripts in Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan. Although there are probably about a million members of the Yi minzu who do not speak Yi languages, this leaves nearly six million who do, and to varying degrees, Yi languages have entered the modern world, especially in Liangshan by means of school textbooks, daily newspapers, radio stations, and other modern media.

Keywords: Chinese Communists; Yi languages; standardization; Sichuan; Guizhou; Yunnan; Liangshan

Chapter.  8387 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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