Chencen Cai

PhD Candidate, Department of Teaching and Learning, Steinhardt

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (September 2 - November 29):

This research project explores pre- and in-service Mandarin teachers’ language ideologies regarding Chinese varieties and language use. In the Han Chinese context, there is a large and complex intersection of languages and cultures subsumed under the single linguistic umbrella of Chinese. However, Mandarin is often referred to as the Chinese language, while other varieties are called dialects or “fangyan”. Indeed, the potential role of Chinese varieties in Mandarin classes remains contested for educational stakeholders. In the current project, through a constructivist grounded theory approach, Cai has conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 pre- and in-service Mandarin teachers studying or working in the New York metropolitan area. The interviews are based on their perceptions and experiences towards language diversity, language use, and Mandarin teaching. The outcome will be a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Chinese varieties and the roles teachers can play in clarifying the sociocultural landscape of Chinese for their students and peers. She is planning to check relevant references and language policy documents at the library at NYU Shanghai. Cai would also like to discuss with professors and researchers the current issues of Chinese language variation and methods of qualitative data analysis. The NYU Shanghai setting is ideal for the study context as the Shanghainese variety is widely spoken side by side with Standard Mandarin.

Last Name
Fellows Type
GRI Fellowship
GRI Fellows semester
Fall 2019