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Unstoppable Speech: Diverging Putonghua Pronunciations and the PRC Government‟s Efforts to Curtail Their Emergence in Media


  • Mejfang Wang

Summary, in English

This thesis looks at the phonological changes and variations of Putonghua, the standard language spoken mainly in the People‟s Republic of China (PRC). It examines how linguists and other scholars regard these changes and also how the PRC government has reacted to their recent upsurge in broadcast media. While some scholars view language developments, including phonological such, as something expected, others argue that they are merely a sign of inadequate standardisation and insufficient promotion of the standard (i.e. “correct”) form of Putonghua. This has also been the attitude of the government, which has issued prohibitions on speaking Putonghua with a nonstandard pronunciation on the radio and on TV on several occasions since 2002. The reasons for banning the use of nonstandard pronunciation is questioned in the thesis, as most ordinary people seem to have no problems with radio and TV presenters and hosts speaking Putonghua with a less than “perfect” pronunciation. In any case, the prohibitions appear to have had no effect, as nonstandard Putonghua is still heard on various TV programmes today.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • language standard
  • phonology
  • pronunciation
  • Putonghua
  • spoken Chinese


  • Michael Schoenhals