Shifting repertoires: migration and Chinese languages in France

TitreShifting repertoires: migration and Chinese languages in France
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2016
AuthorsSaillard, Claire
JournalSustainable Multilingualism
Start Page50
Date de publication12/2016
ISSN2335-2019 (print); 2335-2027 (online)

This paper shows that the language repertoires of Chinese migrants to Paris, France, have been shifting in the last 15 years, due to both sociological and sociolinguistic changes that occurred since the early 2000s. On the sociological side, although migration from China to France is still ongoing, it co-occurs with the formation of a generation of ethnic Chinese children and youths born in France from migrant parents. On the sociolinguistic side, it has been shown that the equilibrium between the standard Chinese national language (Putonghua) and the local Chinese languages (fangyan or "dialects") was no longer that of a diglossic situation where the standard language would be excluded from the family and friends' domain of interaction. The consequences of both changes were explored through a small-scale questionnaire survey addressed to ethnic Chinese children and youths in Paris. These recent data were compared with similar data gathered in 2000, thus pointing to a real shift in language repertoires among Chinese migrants to France. The study ends by considering some implications of our findings for heritage language teaching.