National identity and multilingualism: a survey of Chinese Mongolian university students

Rining Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of multilingualism, limited research has explored the link between language proficiency and national identity, although the key role of language in the national identity (NI) formation has been acknowledged in other fields (e.g. sociology) over the past five decades. Aiming to narrow this gap, the present study examined Chinese Mongolian students’ NI and the influence from multilingualism (operationalised as self-rated proficiency in respectively Putonghua and English, their L2 and L3) and other sociobiographical variables (e.g. gender). NI was measured with a questionnaire item designed to gauge this construct that has been used in the latest waves of the Chinese Social Survey (CSS), a longitudinal nation-wide survey in China. The participants (N = 586) achieved a mean score of 4.26 (out of five) with the bootstrapped 95% confidence interval [4.20–4.32], indicating a high level of NI. Regression analyses showed that the two measures of multilingualism, attitudes respectively toward Putonghua, English, and trilingualism, and other sociobiographical variables influenced NI to different degrees. Calls for more comprehensive data concerning NI in multilingualism research and for more robust statistics (e.g. fuller use of effect size) were made. Policy implications vis-à-vis cultivating multilingualism among ethnic minorities were also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • National identity
  • attitudes toward English
  • attitudes toward Putonghua
  • attitudes toward trilingualism
  • proficiency in English
  • proficiency in Putonghua


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