Dialect-switching phenomenon in Danyang operas : a systemic functional approach


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

View graph of relations


  • Wen WANG


Awarding Institution
Award date3 Oct 2014


While appreciating Chinese operas, one may find that what is uttered during the performance is somewhat different from the way performers speak in daily conversation. In the local operas of Danyang, a small city in Yangtze River Delta, this difference mainly manifests as a dialect-switching phenomenon, i.e. a switching between Danyang and Putonghua. This study is to analyze the dialect-switching in Danyang operas as a linguistic choice within the theoretical framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. Dialect-switching choices in Danyang operas are classified into two general kinds: one is dialect-switching which departs from the stratum of phonology; and the other is dialect-switching which starts directly from the lexicogrammatical level. In so doing, the dialect-switching in Danyang operas is classified into several kinds according to the exact code being employed and its possible reason of occurrence. Through the observation of dialect-switching at the lexicogrammatical stratum, there is an excellent opportunity to make a comparison between Danyang and Putonghua in terms of lexis and grammar and to reveal how the local Danyang speakers perceive the reality and construe their experience in a manner different from what may be taken for granted in Putonghua. Most important of all, in dialect-switching analysis, it is found that a phonological dialect-switching may contribute to the meaning prominence, which indicates that there is a possibility of non-arbitrariness between the expression plane and the content plane, i.e. a dialct-switched phonological choice can have an emphasis of meaning.

    Research areas

  • Code switching (Linguistics), Operas, Chinese, Functionalism (Linguistics), China, Chinese language, Danyang Shi, Dialects, Systemic grammar