Conference PaperPDF Available

Puah, Y. Y., & Ting, S. H. (2013, Nov 19-21). Home ground notions influencing Foochow and Hokkien speakers’ language use in Kuching, Sarawak. Paper presented at Konferensi Antar Universiti Se Borneo-Kalimantan ke-7 (KABOKA), Kota Samarahan, Malaysia.

Authors:
Home ground notions influencing Foochow and Hokkien speakers’ language use in
Kuching, Sarawak
1Yann-Yann Puah
2Associate Professor Dr Su-Hie Ting
1, 2Centre for Language Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak,
94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak
1yann15059@gmail.com
2shting@cls.unimas.my
Abstract
In the past, ethnic groups tend to be concentrated in certain localities and their interactions
tend to be within their own group. However, with past migration for educational and career
purposes, ethnic groups are now spread all over. Even so, the notion of homeland and
home ground are still entrenched in the minds of the people. Specific reference is made to
the Chinese sub-groups in Sarawak, and this study focusses on the Foochow whose
homeland is Sibu and the Rejang hinterland and the Hokkien whose homeland is Kuching.
The study examined the languages used by Foochow and Hokkien speakers in urban
Kuching and the reasons for their language choice. A case study was conducted on twenty
Chinese residing in Kuching (10 Foochow and 10 Hokkien). The results showed that the
Hokkien participants speak Hokkien in the family domain regardless of whether there is
intermarriage but the Foochow participants choose Mandarin if their spouse is from other
Chinese sub-groups. For interactions with other Chinese, the Hokkien participants’ first
choice is Hokkien but the Foochow would only speak Foochow to other Foochow people
and use Hokkien and Mandarin with other Chinese. For interethnic interactions, English,
Bahasa Melayu and Iban are used. Various reasons for the language choices were reported
by the participants but it seems that the most important finding that emerged is that the
Chinese sub-groups would speak their dialect only on their “home ground” but when they
are on “away ground”, they seek to blend in.
Introduction
Hokkien, also known as Amoy, originated from the southern part of Fukien province, the
city of Amoy, in China (Lockard, 1973). Since the wordHokkien” came from the local
pronunciation of the province name, the speakers generally were known as Hokkiens or
Fukienese (Chew, 1983, p. 14). Due to Manchu’s power and banning of foreign trade in
China, these Hokkiens decided to go abroad, either to emigrate or to trade (Skinner, 1957).
Therefore, the Hokkien was one of the earliest ethnic groups who came to Sarawak.
Lockard (1973) mentioned that the Hokkien was generally considered as “urban dwellers
in northeast Borneo and throughout the Southeast Asia” (p. 14) because “they appeared to
have gravitated more recently to the trading ports” (p. 20). As “Kuching’s development has
largely centered on the banks of the Sarawak River” and “the right bank has aptly been
described as the Golden Belt area because of its commercial properties”, the Hokkien
people were perceived as having an urban life and seen as having a strong presence in the
capital of the state, Kuching (State Planning Unit Sarawak, 2001).
On the other hand, the first batch of Foochow from Kutien county that arrived
Sarawak was led by a scholar named Wong Nai Siong, who visited Sibu and made
personal arrangements with the Sarawak government (Leigh, 1988) when he heard of the
willingness of the White Rajah to bring experienced “Chinese agriculturists into the
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Rejang Valley” (Kuok, 1972, p. 47). With the help and sponsorship of the White Rajah,
immigration of Foochow to Sarawak started in January 1901 and the original settlements
for these speakers were Sibu and Binatang where more than 500 immigrants, mostly
speakers from Mintsing and Kutien, came to Sarawak (Kuok, 1972). Due to the diligence
of these Foochow immigrants, they were no longer restricted to a small area of land to
work in but spread out to other areas of the state, such as Kuching. Nevertheless, Kuok
(1972) stated that these immigrants had never really established their settlement in
Kuching even though there were Foochow merchants in Kuching before World War II (p.
60).
Through the decades, more and more Foochows moved out of Sibu, Bintangor and
Sarikei to Kuching in search of education, employment and business opportunities. Today,
there is a substantial population of Foochows in Kuching, in the midst of descendants of
the original Hokkien settlers. The various sub-groups of Chinese share the standard
Chinese language, Mandarin. The question which arises is whether the Foochow and
Hokkiens are similar in their use of their vernacular languages and Mandarin.
Purpose of study
The paper examined the language use of Foochow and Hokkien speakers in Kuching,
Sarawak. The specific aspects examined were:
1. linguistic repertoire of Foochow and Hokkien speakers
2. language use of Foochow and Hokkien speakers at home; and
3. language use of Foochow and Hokkien speakers outside their home.
In this paper, when the term “vernacular language” is used for the Hokkien people, it refers
to the Hokkien language and it is used for the Foochow people, it refers to the Foochow
language.
Method of study
The study involved 20 participants in Kuching, 10 Foochow and 10 Hokkien. An equal
number of participants were selected to ease comparison of the results. The participants in
this study were selected based on three criteria; they must be living in Kuching at the time
of the study; they speak their vernacular language and Mandarin; and at least one parent is
Foochow or Hokkien by descent. The participants’ age ranged from 27 to 69, and their
occupations are diverse. The demographic details of the participants are shown in Table 1.
To obtain the language usage patterns and reasons for their language choices, the
interview technique was used. By using semi-structured interviews, participants had the
opportunity to describe the context which gave rise to certain patterns of language use.
Using questionnaires with pre-set responses would not have allowed the participants to
describe their unique contexts and settings which determine their language choices in
various situations. Accordingly, none of the participants’ responses were omitted during
the data analysis because each and every explanation or clarification given during the
interviews was perceived as valid explanations for their language choices.
An interview guide was formulated with reference to Gilliland’s (2006) interview
guide. To find out the reasons for their language choices, the initial question posed was
“How many languages do you speak/use in your daily lives?”. This was followed by
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prompts for elaboration. The wording of the questions was adapted to the situation but the
gist remained the same.
Table 1
Foochow and Hokkien participants’ demographic characteristics
Participants Gender Age Occupation Status Father Mother
Foochow 1 Male 46 Accountant Married with a
Teochew
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 2 Male 62 Hawker Married with
Foochow
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 3 Female 51 Principal Single Foochow Foochow
Foochow 4 Female 30 PhD student Single Foochow Foochow
Foochow 5 Female 48 Businesswo
man
Married with
Foochow
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 6 Male 34 Government
servant
Single (girlfriend
is Foochow)
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 7 Female 57 Housewife Married with
Hakka
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 8 Female 42 Personal
assistant of a
minister
Married with
Hakka
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 9 Male 48 Businessman Married with
Foochow
Foochow Foochow
Foochow 10 Female 28 Research
officer
Single Foochow Foochow
Hokkien 1 Male 31 Engineer Single (girlfriend
is Hokkien)
Hokkien Hakka
Hokkien 2 Male 33 Manager Single Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 3 Female 34 Government
servant
Married with
Bidayuh
Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 4 Female 29 Biologist Single Non-
Chinese
Hokkien
Hokkien 5 Female 34 Teacher Married with
Hakka
Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 6 Male 48 Businessman Married with
Hokkien
Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 7 Female 69 Retired Married with
Hokkien
Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 8 Female 27 Teacher Single Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 9 Female 32 Engineer Married with
Hokkien
Hokkien Hokkien
Hokkien 10 Female 30 Research
officer
Married with
Hokkien
Hokkien Hokkien
1. How many languages do you speak/use in your daily lives?
a. Under what situations will you use each of them? Examples?
b. When will you use Mandarin? With whom will you use it?
c. When will you use Foochow/Hokkien? With whom will you use it?
d. What language will you use when you meet a Foochow/Hokkien?
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e. What language will you use when you are at home? Examples?
f. What language will you use when you are outside home? Examples?
Before the interview started, the participants were told that their conversations
would be audio-recorded. In order to ease the tension of the participants, the interviews
were conducted in an informal setting so that they were more willing to reveal reasons for
their language choices. During the interviews, para-linguistic features such as head nods
and gestures were recorded in the observation notes.
The language used for the interviews was decided by the participants, and code-
switching between two or more languages usually occurred. The interviews with Foochow
participants were conducted mainly in Mandarin but some Foochow, English and even
Hokkien were also used. The interviews with Hokkien participants were conducted mainly
in Mandarin and Hokkien, with some usage of English.
The recorded interviews were transcribed without editing for grammaticality.
Interviews conducted in English were transcribed in English while interviews conducted in
Mandarin, Hokkien and Foochow were transcribed in Mandarin and then translated to
English. The transcripts were analysed based on thematic analysis (Aronson, 1994). The
transcripts were read and reread for emerging themes and sub-themes with the interview
questions as a guide. For each interview, concepts maps for the themes and sub-themes
were drawn and a combined concept map was later constructed. Comparisons between
participants were made where common reasons for using a particular language were
grouped together. From the grouping, similarities and differences of pattern on how
Foochow and Hokkien participants used their vernacular language in their daily lives,
where, when, with whom and why they used were identified. In contrast, unique reasons
that were not mentioned by others were isolated and explained in the specific context of
the participants’ lives.
Results and Discussion
In this section, excerpts from interviews are included to provide the participants’
perspective on their language choices with family and with people outside the home. The
Foochow participants are referred to as Foochow 1 to Foochow 10, and the Hokkien
participants are referred to as Hokkien 1 to Hokkien 10.
Linguistic repertoire of Foochow and Hokkien participants
Table 2 shows the linguistic repertoire of the 10 Foochow and 10 Hokkien participants
interviewed in the study. The Foochow participants had an average of 5.3 languages in
their linguistic repertoire while the average for Hokkien participants is 4.3 languages. This
shows that the Foochow participants could speak one more language than the Hokkien
participants, and this additional language is more often than not Foochow.
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Table 2
Linguistic repertoire of Foochow and Hokkien participants
Participants
Languages spoken Total
Mandarin Bahasa
Malaysia
English Foochow Hokkien Hakka Cantonese Teochew Iban Bidayuh
Foochow 1    5
Foochow 2   5
Foochow 3    4
Foochow 4    5
Foochow 5    6
Foochow 6    6
Foochow 7   3
Foochow 8    4
Foochow 9    7
Foochow 10    8
Total for
Foochow
10 9 8 10 6 2 2 1 5 0 53
Hokkien 1     5
Hokkien 2   3
Hokkien 3   4
Hokkien 4   4
Hokkien 5   4
Hokkien 6   4
Hokkien 7   5
Hokkien 8   4
Hokkien 9   5
Hokkien 10     5
Total for 9 9 9 0 10 3 0 0 2 1 43
5
Hokkien
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All the Foochow and Hokkien participants could speak their respective vernacular
languages. Almost all, if not all, of them could speak the standard languages (Mandarin,
Bahasa Malaysia, English). For Chinese vernacular languages, this is where the difference
between Foochow and Hokkien participants lie: Six out of 10 Foochow participants could
speak Hokkien but none of the Hokkien participants could speak Foochow. For Sarawak
indigenous languages, more Foochow participants reported ability to speak Iban than
Hokkien participants; this could be due to work and social networks.
Languages used by Foochow and Hokkien participants in the family domain
Table 3 shows that the Foochow and Hokkien participants used an average of two
languages for communication at home with their family members. As a group, the 10
Hokkien participants who were interviewed had more diverse language use at home (using
five different languages) than the Foochow participants (who used three different
languages).
Table 3
Languages used by Foochow and Hokkien participants in the family domain
Participants Languages spoken Total
Mandarin English Foochow Hokkien Hakka Bidayuh
Foochow 1   2
Foochow 2 1
Foochow 3   2
Foochow 4   2
Foochow 5   2
Foochow 6 1
Foochow 7   2
Foochow 8 1
Foochow 9   2
Foochow 10   2
Total for
Foochow
7 2 8 0 0 0 17
Hokkien 1   2
Hokkien 2 2
Hokkien 3 3
Hokkien 4   2
Hokkien 5 2
Hokkien 6 1
Hokkien 7 1
Hokkien 8 2
Hokkien 9 1
Hokkien 10 1
Total for
Hokkien
3 2 0 10 1 1 17
All the Hokkien participants reported speaking Hokkien with their family members.
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The other languages were less frequently used: Mandarin (3 participants), English (2
participants), Hakka (1 participant), and Bidayuh (1 participant). From this, it can be
concluded that Hokkien is the main language for family communication for Hokkien
speakers. However, not all Foochow participants interviewed reported speaking Foochow
with family members; only eight did so. The two Foochow participants who did not use
Foochow at home were Foochow 1, an accountant with a Teochew wife, and Foochow 8, a
personal assistant with a Hakka husband. Because their spouses who were not Foochow,
they chose to speak English and/or Mandarin at home but outside the family domain, they
do speak Foochow (Table 4).
Table 3 shows that seven out of 10 Foochow participants reported speaking
Mandarin at home. For five of these participants, Foochow is also used alongside
Mandarin. The sharing of the family domain in Foochow families by Foochow and
Mandarin gives room for the standard Chinese language to supplant the vernacular
language from the home domain. Some evidence of a shift away from Foochow to
Mandarin can be seen, unlike the Hokkien participants who retain their vernacular
language as their home language. First, two Foochow participants did not speak any
Foochow at home but the number is zero for Hokkien participants. Second, only two
Foochow participants spoke only Foochow at home but the corresponding number is four
for Hokkien participants, showing a stronger maintenance of Hokkien as the home
language. Third, more of the Foochow homes exhibit a sharing of the domain by Foochow
and Mandarin (5 families), compared to three Hokkien families, This is a matter of concern
because a co-occurrence of Foochow and Mandarin in Foochow family communication is a
precursor for a shift towards a Mandarin-only language environment in Foochow homes.
Although the number of participants is small, the patterns are indicative of the vernacular
language losing dominance in the family domain for Foochow families rather than Hokkien
families.
Based on the results, a clear difference between the Hokkien and Foochow people
living in Kuching is this Hokkien can be the main language for family communication
but Foochow shares the family domain with Mandarin. One of the obvious reasons for
Hokkien families to maintain use of Hokkien is the widespread use of Hokkien in Kuching,
particularly among the Chinese community. In the interviews, Foochow 6 said that the
majority of Chinese in Kuching are Hokkien people. While population statistics on the sub-
division of Chinese sub-groups in various towns in Sarawak are not available to back this
up, such perceptions alone would influence language choices. By virtue of the perceived
dominance of Hokkien people among the Chinese community, there is no reason why
Hokkien people would refrain from speaking their vernacular language. However, there is
every reason why the Foochow people may attempt to speak Hokkien and refrain from
speaking Foochow for the purpose of communicative efficiency.
Another difference between the Hokkien and Foochow living in Kuching is their
attitude towards the intergenerational transmission of their vernacular language. Even with
inter-marriages, Hokkien stays as one of the languages spoken at home. For example,
Hokkien 1’s father was Hokkien but his mother was Hakka (Table 2), and both parents’
vernacular languages are used for communication at home. Hokkien 1 is still single; hence,
there is no indication of whether the same pattern of language use would be repeated in his
own family. Another example is Hokkien 3 who married a Bidayuh man. Both her parents
are Hokkien, and she had been using Hokkien before she married her Bidayuh husband.
She insisted on speaking Hokkien, alongside English and Bidayuh, with her daughter as
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she felt that it was important to speak Hokkien to the next generation. Hence, for Hokkien
participants, inter-marriage in the family did not stop them from speaking Hokkien at
home. The scenario is different for Foochow families living in Kuching. Foochow
participants such as Foochow 1 who married a Teochew wife did not attempt to speak
Foochow to his children but instead use Mandarin and English with them. His children
could speak Teochew because they were brought up by his wife’s parents. The different
attitude of the Hokkien and Foochow people towards intergenerational transmission of
their vernacular language is linked to the dominance of their vernacular languages in
Kuching. Because Hokkien people are on their home ground in Kuching, it is natural for
them to speak Hokkien at home but because Kuching is not the home ground of the
Foochow people, it takes effort to maintain usage of Foochow at home.
Languages used by Foochow and Hokkien participants outside the family domain
Next, the participants’ language use outside the family domain is examined. The results are
obtained from what participants said in interviews about their language use in domains
such as friendship, transaction, government, education and employment. Table 4 shows that
the Foochow and Hokkien are similar in their frequent use of Bahasa Malaysia, English
and Mandarin outside the family domain.
However, the Foochow and Hokkien participants differed in their use of their
vernacular language. All the Hokkien participants used their vernacular language for
communication outside the home (Table 4). For example, Hokkien 6 who is a businessman
aged 48 married to a Hokkien wife explained in his interview that he used Hokkien when
he was doing business in Kuching.
Ar, normally will speak Hokkien la. Only when come to business, what’s that, it
depends on where you go. If we go Sibu like that then will mostly speak Mandarin
lo. But in locally here mostly Hokkien because among our friend ar, most of the
time we speak Hokkien. (Hokkien 6)
Even for Hokkien participants who are not running their own business but working in the
government service such as Hokkien 8, a teacher aged 27, it is still very important for them
to use Hokkien with other Chinese. For instance, Hokkien 8 explained that she spoke
Hokkien to those who could not speak Mandarin, regardless of whether the person was
Hokkien or not.
Yes, let’s say I meet with some people like they are English educated or Malay
educated then they don’t know how to speak Mandarin we’ll talk in Hokkien, like
this. Yes [regardless of whether the person is a Hokkien or not]. Unless he really
can’t speak Hokkien, then we cannot do anything lo if he says Hokkien he
represents Hokkien then he cannot speak Mandarin then we use Hokkien to
converse. (Hokkien 8)
These two excerpts illustrate the common views given by Hokkien participants who believe
that Hokkien is their first choice when communicating outside the family domain and,
although they did not specify this in their interviews, the interactants referred to are other
members of the Chinese community.
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Table 4
Languages used by Foochow and Hokkien participants outside the family domain
Participants Languages spoken Total
Mandarin Bahasa Malaysia English Foochow Hokkien Hakka Cantonese Teochew Iban
Foochow 1   5
Foochow 2 5
Foochow 3   3
Foochow 4 5
Foochow 5 6
Foochow 6 5
Foochow 7   3
Foochow 8   4
Foochow 9     7
Foochow 10 8
Total for Foochow 10 9 8 8 6 2 2 1 5 51
Hokkien 1   4
Hokkien 2   3
Hokkien 3   4
Hokkien 4   4
Hokkien 5   4
Hokkien 6   4
Hokkien 7 5
Hokkien 8   4
Hokkien 9 5
Hokkien 10   4
Total for Hokkien 10 9 9 0 10 1 0 0 2 41
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Unlike the Hokkien participants, the Foochow participants do not assume that they
could speak Foochow to other Chinese they meet outside the home domain. For this reason,
Hokkien and Mandarin are the main options for Foochow participants (Table 4). As
Hokkien is the main Chinese vernacular language used in Kuching, the Foochow
participants found themselves speaking Hokkien in their interactions with friends, co-
workers and other people they meet in their daily transactions. Table 4 shows that the four
Foochow participants who did not use Hokkien for communication outside the family
domain were Foochow 2, Foochow 3, Foochow 4 and Foochow 8, and this is because they
could not speak Hokkien (see Table 2).
Outside the family domain, the use of Foochow is reserved for Foochow people and
serves to strengthen the bond between them. However, the initial task is to identify whether
the person is a Foochow, and to do this, the geographical origin is used as an indicator. For
example, Foochow 8 stated that she only spoke Foochow to people from her hometown.
Oh, back to hometown like that hor, when I meet with my family I will start using
my own dialect lo Foochow, if there is a need for my husband to understand then I
will translate to him lo, Mandarin, in Mandarin. Ar [in Kuching] Oh, normally will
speak Mandarin, unless I meet my people from my hometown ar, Foochow like
that, I know that person is Foochow, then immediately speak in Foochow lo, be
because because if I know that person is a Foochow ar, I will speak to that person
in Foochow, feel more close oh, like this lo. Will have that kind of feeling. Erm,
have the closeness feeling, but don’t dare to take risk, if don’t know whether that
person is Foochow or not, then really don’t dare to speak [Foochow language], be
because don’t dare to speak, if you speak others also don’t understand. (Foochow
8)
Foochow 8, a personal assistant to a minister and married to a Hakka man, was from
Sarikei, one of the towns dominated by Foochow people. The notion of speaking Foochow
to Foochow people is echoed by Foochow 6 working in one of the government departments
in Kuching. In fact, Tables 3 and 4 show that Foochow 6 spoke Foochow at home but did
not speak Foochow outside the home domain. Foochow 9 shed light on a probable reason
for avoiding use of Foochow in Kuching - the feeling of being “out of place”. He also said
that “people will give you that kind of look”, and this is not unusual because Kuching is not
the home ground of the Foochow people. To blend in, the Foochow people living in
Kuching speak Hokkien and Mandarin with the Chinese community and English, Bahasa
Malaysia and Sarawak indigenous languages with the non-Chinese community.
Conclusion
The study shows that Foochow and Hokkien people living in Kuching differ in their use of
their vernacular language and Mandarin. The Foochows interviewed in the study had an
average of five languages in their linguistic repertoire, comprising the three standard
languages (English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin), Foochow and Hokkien. On average, the
Hokkiens interviewed in the study had one language less in their linguistic repertoire, and
that is Foochow. Some of them can also speak the languages of other Chinese sub-groups
as well as Iban and Bidayuh. The findings showed that the Hokkien people use their
vernacular language more extensively because they speak Hokkien not only at home, but
also outside the family domain. In contrast, Foochow speakers restrict use of their
vernacular language to their family and, if there are intermarriages, then Foochow may
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give way to Mandarin or English. Outside the family domain, the Foochow people in
Kuching would only speak Foochow if they are sure that the other person is a Foochow
and, most of the time, their intention is to blend in by speaking Mandarin and Hokkien
because they perceive the Hokkien as the majority Chinese group in Kuching. This study
provides empirical evidence to support the notion that Kuching is the home ground of the
Hokkien people, as far as the Chinese community is concerned. The findings suggest that
perceived dominance of a particular language group can influence one’s propensity to
learn and use the language of the dominant group in public domains, particularly in
collectivistic communities where people seek to blend into the group rather than stand out
from the group (Hsu, 2011; Wyer, Chiu, & Hong, 2009).
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... The Chinese community has been assertive in supporting the role of Mandarin, resulting in the largest parallel system to the governmentfunded national secondary system with Chinese independent secondary schools (Soong, 2012). While Mandarin may be dominant, many students also speak a differing Chinese language such as Cantonese, Hakka, or Hokkien in their home environment along with Malay and English in other settings (Puah & Ting, 2013). ...
... Code-switching is common in social settings, classrooms, and in the workplace, as described in research by Hashim and Tan (2012). There are also enclaves of Thai speakers in northern states, Hokkien speakers in Penang and Sarawak (Puah & Ting, 2013), Cantonese speakers in the Klang Valley, Baba Malay speakers in Malacca, and Javanese speakers in Johor, to name but a few. Community languages in use range from unique indigenous languages such as Iban, Melanu, Kadazan, and Semai to the comparatively recent arrival of Punjabi and Foochow. ...
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The Indonesian government has a quality-oriented paradigm in teacher training, including training for English language teachers. Recently, at the national level, a one-year pre-service teacher professional education program has been established. The program aims to develop the professional competencies of teacher candidates. This chapter describes how the teacher professional education program is run as the benchmark of the country‘s teacher education programs, covering program management, curriculum structure, and program implementation. Following is a presentation of how the program is implemented through day-to-day workshops on planning, conducting, and evaluating lessons, peer teachings, and a workshop on classroom-based research. The chapter ends with an analysis concerning the benefits and the challenges of the program, particularly in relation to lessons that can be learned for other professional development programs in the ASEAN context.
... However, in Kuching where the Hokkien people are dominant, Hokkien has become "a powerful lingua franca" (Hsiao & Lim, 2007, p. 12). From their study of 150 Hokkien and 150 Foochow living in Kuching, Puah and Ting (2013) found that the Hokkien speak their Chinese dialect more extensively than the Foochow because they used it not only at home but also in the friendship, transaction, religious, education and employment domains. The domain analysis showed that Chinese dialects are used in informal situations, in contrast to English which is used in formal situations like meetings, but Mandarin is free from formality associations (Puah & Ting, 2014a). ...
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This study examined the effect of age, gender and socio-economic status on attitudes of Malaysians of Chinese descent towards their Chinese dialect and Mandarin, the standard Chinese language. A survey of 300 Chinese (150 Foochow and 150 Hokkien) living in Kuching, Sarawak was conducted. Their Chinese dialect is valued as an ethnic marker but does not derive its importance from numerical dominance or status of ingroup members. The Foochow and Hokkien participants are significantly different in their attitudes on the importance of their Chinese dialect and Mandarin, and their pride in using these languages but are similar in doubting the instrumental value of their Chinese dialect and Mandarin, feeling embarrassed for not speaking the Chinese languages, and valuing their Chinese dialect as an ethnic marker. Factor analyses identified four and six factors which explained 75.85% and 77.32% of the variance for the Foochow and Hokkien participants’ attitudes respectively. The Foochow participants have more homogenous language attitudes than the Hokkien participants. Gender did not have a significant main effect on the language attitudes of both groups but age significantly influenced the Hokkien participants’ attitudes. Socio-economic status has significant main and interaction effects on attitudes of both the Foochow and Hokkien participants.
... However, in Kuching where the Hokkien people are dominant, Hokkien has become "a powerful lingua franca" (Hsiao & Lim, 2007, p. 12). From their study of 150 Hokkien and 150 Foochow living in Kuching, Puah and Ting (2013) found that the Hokkien speak their Chinese dialect more extensively than the Foochow because they used it not only at home but also in the friendship, transaction, religious, education and employment domains. The domain analysis showed that Chinese dialects are used in informal situations, in contrast to English which is used in formal situations like meetings, but Mandarin is free from formality associations (Puah & Ting, 2014a). ...
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The study examines the influence of gender, age and socio-economic status on attitudes of Foochow and Hokkien towards their ethnic language and Mandarin. The matched guise test results of 120 Foochow and 120 Hokkien participants in Kuching, Malaysia, showed positive attitudes towards Mandarin on all the 15 traits. The Hokkien participants were more positive than the Foochow participants towards speakers of their own ethnic language. Foochow speakers were perceived as loud, and the male Foochow speaker was rated unfavourably on five other traits. Multivariate analysis of variance results showed that gender significantly influenced the Foochow participants' ratings of the wealth of Foochow speakers and the Hokkien participants' ratings of the easy-going nature of Mandarin speakers, the gentleness and solidarity of the male Mandarin speaker, and the height and intelligence of the male Hokkien speaker. Age influenced the attributions of status to the female Foochow speaker and solidarity with the female Mandarin speaker. Socio-economic status influenced the ratings of the most number of traits. Interaction effects were also found. The underlying dimensions loaded onto one factor each for Foochow (easy-going and rich) and Hokkien (formal, strong solidarity) and two different factors for Mandarin, suggesting different stereotypes of dialect and Mandarin speakers.
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