2014 Research Seminars

“Deviant writing and youth identity: Representation of dialects with Chinese characters on the internet”

Time:           4:15pm – 5:15pm, Feb. 20, 2014    

Location:      Modern Languages 201

Professor Jin Liu (Georgia Institute of Technology) will examine the emergence of the representation of dialect with Chinese characters (fangyan wenzihua) on the Internet. Deviating from the standard Chinese writing system, the Internet-savvy youth transcribe their native dialects on an ad hoc basis, which celebrates multiplicity, creativity, individuality and resists uniformity, standardization, and institutionalization. Taking the SHN website (www.shanghaining.com) as a case study, she will discuss how the written Shanghai Wu words are explored to mark a distinct visual style and to articulate a distinct local youth identity. Furthermore, her paper examines the dominant strategy of phonetic borrowing in dialect transcription on the Inter- net. It is argued that diachronically, the youth's phonocentric obsession tapped into the May Fourth tradition of the baihua vernacular movement that was heavily influenced by the European logocentrism; and synchronically, the celebration of dialect sound on the Internet echoes the contemporary soundscape of local dialects formed in the mass media in recent years.

Open and free to the public.