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Title: Script issues in Xinjiang : nationalism, commerce, computers, convenience
Author: Young, Daniel Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 2422
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis tests the hypothesis that the use of multiple writing systems for Uyghur language in Xinjiang is due to differences in social practices which language users rationalise within the framework of main discourses on language use in the region. Xinjiang's Uyghur language community has experienced diverse linguistic influences over the past century, and language users in Xinjiang still face economic and political transformations, competing ideals of desired collective identity and demographic fluctuations, which cause Uyghur to be written in at least four different scripts and with many diverging orthographies. It tests this hypothesis by first looking at choices made in the process of designing writing systems for Uyghur, then examining the writing behaviour of users of different social demo graphics, before finally analysing the different discourses that run through the interviews I collected with users in Xinjiang in 2009. The thesis concludes that different scripts tend to be used in different domains, while younger users often use Latin versions of Uyghur script, while users based in more rural areas, and those educated in schools where Uyghur language is taught, will more often use the official Perso-Arabic script. It also examines the variation in orthographies used for writing Uyghur within the same script, and concludes that, while variation in orthographies can often be attributed to a user's educational background or hometown, diversity in script use is linked more to differences in age, languages spoken or domains of use. The thesis also determines that recurring discourses of language improvement, links to history, financial motivations, affirming a Uyghur identity and of modernisation are linked to people's choices for using a particular writing system, and the fact that users employ the same discourses to legitimise the use of different writing systems demonstrates why multiple writing systems are now in use in Xinjiang.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available