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China, Minority Languages

With more than 1.3 billion people, China exhibits an array of diversity in many domains, including education and language. The 2000 census shows a population of more than 106 million for ethnic minorities, most of whom speak one of the approximately 120 identified minority languages. This entry describes the linguistic diversity of ethnic minorities in mainland China from a sociolinguistic perspective. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao are excluded from general discussion because the situations of minority languages in these regions differ substantially from that in the mainland. In Taiwan, many aboriginal languages have undergone a series of experiences that involve linguistic suppression, language loss, and revitalization for some linguistic groups. Minority languages in Hong Kong and Macao, on the other hand, are imported through ...

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