Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Cecelia Cutler

Committee Members

William Haddican

Michael Newman

Qing Zhang

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Chinese Studies


Chinese, Taiwan Mandarin, Sociolinguistics, Media, Ideologies, Language variation


This dissertation looks at the effects of media exposure and language ideologies on Mandarin speakers’ acceptability judgments. Although there is a long-standing tradition against citing media exposure as a source of language variation, I show that 1) media exposure to a non-local perceptually salient variant can make people more likely to rate non-local linguistic features as grammatically acceptable, and 2) media exposure shapes people’s language attitudes—a new alignment of attitudes is emerging among the millennials on the mainland.

Data were collected through an online survey consisting of grammaticality judgments, matched-guise tasks, open-ended attitudinal questions, and demographic questions. The data show that the social prestige of Taiwan Mandarin (TM) may be waning, which can be ascribed in part to 1) social and economic changes on the mainland, and 2) the change of TM itself. Deviating from Mainland Standard Mandarin, TM is perceived by many millennials on the mainland as gentle, pretentious and emasculated, which embodies the dynamics of language ideologies: they vary both diachronically and synchronically.