Language and power: Korean–Chinese students' language attitude and practice

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Language is not only a method of communication, but also a mechanism of power. The ethnographic research reported in this article documents how a group of Korean students, who are participating in a bilingual Korean school in Northeast China, construct their language attitude and practice. Research findings indicate that the Korean students value both Korean and Chinese language acquisition, and adopt the two languages for self-empowerment in the academic hierarchy of the Korean school. The positive attitude and practice of Korean students towards Korean and Chinese language studies highlight the politically and economically functional power of Korean and Chinese languages as a means of acquiring a larger benefit from China's economic marketisation, especially increasing business contacts with South Korea. This article argues that the increasing significance of transnationalism for ethnic minorities within globalisation emphasises bilingual proficiency, or even trilingualism in China's reform period which implies the necessity of relevant policy initiations for the increasing needs of language acquisition. Copyright © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-534
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Gao, F. (2009). Language and power: Korean–Chinese students' language attitude and practice. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 30(6), 525-534. doi: 10.1080/01434630903147922


  • Language and power
  • Korean language
  • Chinese language
  • Language, attitude and practice
  • Bilingualism
  • Transnationalism


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