1st Edition

Multilingual Crisis Communication Insights from China

Edited By Jia Li, Jie Zhang Copyright 2025
    280 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Multilingual crisis communication is the first book to explore the lived experiences of linguistic minorities in crisis-affected settings in the Global South, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. China has been selected as a case of inquiry for multilingual crisis communication because of its high level of linguistic diversity. Taking up critical sociopolitical approaches, this book conceptualizes multilingual crisis communication from three dimensions: identifying communication barriers, engaging communication repertoires, and empowering communication justice.

    Comprised of eight main chapters, along with an introduction and an epilogue, this edited book is divided into three parts in terms of the demographic and social conditions of linguistic minorities, as indigenous, migrant, and those with communicative disabilities. This book brings together a range of critical perspectives of sociolinguistic scholars, language teachers, and public health workers. Each team of authors includes at least one member of the research community with many years of field work experience, and some of them belong to ethnic minorities. These studies can generate new insights for enhancing the accessibility and effectiveness of multilingual crisis communication.

    This book will interest academics and postgraduate students with an interest in multilingualism, intercultural communication, translation and interpreting studies, and public health policy.



    List of Figures



    List of Contributors





    Introduction: Multilingual crisis communication: Beyond languages and modalities, Jia Li, Jie Zhang


    Part I: Multilingual crisis communication in ethnic minority regions


    Chapter 1. Baipkv as networked multilingualism in an ethnic Bai-centered region in times of crisis, Hongmei Yang, Hongyan Yang


    Chapter 2. Zhuang-speaking village doctors as language and cultural brokers in times of crisis, Jia Li, Zhenyao Lu, Mengyi Luo, Zhuyujie Zou


    Chapter 3. Crisis Experiences in Leisurescape: A Case Study of a Minority Region During COVID-19, Yin (Ivy) Wu



    Part II Multilingual crisis communication with foreign migrants


    Chapter 4. Rethinking translation and interpreting in Chinese borderlands in times of crisis: A critical sociolinguistics approach, Jinhyun Cho, Jia Li, Jie Zhang, Meichun Xue


    Chapter 5. Collective agency in facilitating emergency language services: The story of Yiwu during the COVID-19 pandemic, Xixuan Wang, Yongyan Zheng


    Chapter 6. Agentive adaptation in maintaining academic performance through multilingual communication during the COVID-19 pandemic: A Chinese case of international students in Guangzhou, Hongqiang Zhu, Jiewei Li, Pan Pan



    Part   III    Multilingual    crisis    communication    for    vulnerable populations


    Chapter 7. Towards participatory and inclusive emergency management: The role of Deaf volunteers in crisis communication in Wuhan during the COVID-19 pandemic, Li Lyu, Jie Zhang, Lei Mu, Jing Cui, Wan-Chen Chen


    Chapter 8.   Multilingual   crisis   communication   experiences   of HIV-infected Burmese wives, Rui Deng, Yan Xiao, Jia Li, Yongqin Dong


    Conclusion: The future of multilingual crisis communication, Ingrid Piller




    Jia Li is Professor of Applied Sociolinguistics at Yunnan University, China.

    Jie Zhang is Professor of Applied Sociolinguistics in the School of Foreign Languages, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China.

    'Setting a milestone in critical sociolinguistic and applied linguistic studies, this volume offers critical insights into overcoming communication barriers for linguistic minorities during crises, promoting social justice, and enhancing public health responses through inclusive, multimodal, and multilingual strategies. It also serves as testimonies of resilience, courage and kindness during the turbulent time' 

    - Professor Zhu Hua, Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences and Director of International Centre for Intercultural Studies, UCL, UK

    'The global pandemic has brought to the fore the key role of multilingual communication in disasters and emergencies. This volume contains cutting edge ethnographic studies that address this seriously from the perspective of Chinese scholars and minoritized populations in China. A decisive contribution to the burgeoning field of multilingualism and critical sociolinguistics in times of crisis.'

    - Professor Virginia Zavala, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Perú