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

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 2016 - History - 96 pages
Mandarin, 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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About the author (2016)

David Moseris a scholar of linguistics and currently serves as Academic Director of CET Chinese Studies at Beijing Capital Normal University. He has taught courses in Translation Theory and Psycholinguistics, and is an active commentator on Chinese media, co-hosting the popular Sinica podcast.

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