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The Struggle For Legitimate Language In The Qing Educational System

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Chapter Summary

The educational system is the central institution where overt language policies take effect. This chapter examines the position of language and language study in the educational institutions between 1904 and 1911 as well as the debates surrounding the teaching of written and spoken language in the schools. The major theme of these struggles was the role the Confucian Classics were to play in education and their relation to the teaching of the Chinese language. Confucianism was the ideological backbone of the xinzheng reforms. The chapter argues that Confucianism was at the heart of what the Qing government understood as "national essence". It suggests that from the beginning of the xinzheng reforms the government tried to monopolize education and with it the ideology of the elites on the basis of its own concept of "nation," of which Confucianism was a major part.

Keywords:Chinese language; confucian classics; educational system; language policies; Qing government; xinzheng reforms



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