Interest, Power, and Attitudes Toward International Communication

The Language Choices of Chinese Provincial Government Websites

  • Shanhua He Yangzhou University
  • Jiri Nekvapil Charles University
Keywords: Language Management Theory, languages in cyberspace, multilingualism in China, norms, English

Abstract

This study investigated the language choices of provincial governments in China by employing the concepts of interest, norm, and power within the Language Management Theory (LMT) framework. We approached this issue by examining which language options were presented on the websites of 31 provincial governments in China (Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan not included), and found that 11 offered Chinese versions only, 16 offered both Chinese and English versions, and only four offered Chinese and multiple foreign language versions. For both the governments and international visitors, subsequent analysis suggested that additional language versions facilitated the fulfillment of communicative and symbolic interests. However, this entailed a higher loss of pecuniary interest from a government-based perspective. Here, the voluntary abandonment of pecuniary interest indicated both a lower power position and a more open attitude toward international communication. In summary, the data showed that not all provincial governments in China were ready to embrace globalization in the context of cyberspace.

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Author Biography

Jiri Nekvapil, Charles University

Department of Linguistics
Charles University, Faculty of Arts

Published
2022-10-27
How to Cite
He, S., & Nekvapil, J. (2022). Interest, Power, and Attitudes Toward International Communication: The Language Choices of Chinese Provincial Government Websites. Archiv orientální, 90(2), 371-402. https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.90.2.371-402
Section
Research Article