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The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology, 2022, 4(1); doi: 10.25236/FSST.2022.040111.

A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Popular “Plastic Mandarin” Among Contemporary Chinese University Students


Bo Yanqi

Corresponding Author:
Bo Yanqi

Southwest University, Chongqing, China


In recent years, some accented Mandarin Chinese words prevail among the youth in Chinese media, which are termed “Plastic Mandarin” or dialect-influenced Mandarin (DIM) words to indicate that they belong to a special variety of Mandarin characteristic of some regional accent or influenced by some Chinese dialects. This language variety used to be mocked as being nonstandard and thus subject to correction or improvement, for many scholars believed that it would hamper the national efforts for spreading the Standard Mandarin. Nowadays, however, DIM words like “Ya (Yang) Zi” and “zha (Zhang) Zha (Jia) hui” are on top of the searching list in Sina Weibo, and they are frequently used and widely broadcast from online to offline, especially among university students. In order to account for the popularity of such DIM words, this paper aims to first investigate the popularity of DIM words among the general public by conducting a questionnaire survey with the aid of Wenjuanxing, an online program, and then explore the social and psychological causes for the popularity of DIM among contemporary Chinese university students in light of some sociolinguistic theories, particularly the theories of Joseph Yendryès and Neil Postman. It is concluded that DIM words can be seen as a special type of neologism which not only reflects the technological progress in the Internet and mass media (especially we media) on the one hand, but are also a significant index of the development of the society and the social-psychological features of contemporary Chinese university students on the other hand.


Dialect-influenced Mandarin Words; Contemporary Chinese University Students; Popularity; Social; Psychological Causes; Sociolinguistics

Cite This Paper

Bo Yanqi. A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Popular “Plastic Mandarin” Among Contemporary Chinese University Students. The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology (2022) Vol. 4, Issue 1: 57-67. https://doi.org/10.25236/FSST.2022.040111.


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