A hint about where the future of Standard
Mandarin might lie:
Of further interest in the development of regional Mandarins is that, due to regional prosperity and connotations of wealth, upbringing, and trendiness associated with new regional urban centers, many regional Mandarin varieties may, in time, come to command greater prestige than Mandarin spoken in its northern birthplace. Ding (1998) has observed that “many Chinese regard the Beijing accent as pompous,” and notes that his fellow academics have found the Mandarin of Taiwanese newscasters to be more pleasant-sounding than that of their northern counterparts. Zhang (2005) writes that well-to-do yuppies working in Beijing’s international corporate offices choose not to speak with a local Beijing accent, but instead to speak in an accent that selectively incorporates features of Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore (Zhang 2005, 444–458). According to Zhang, the choice of this “Cosmopolitan Mandarin” over Beijing Mandarin is not for the purposes of communication, but to signal a distinction in social status. As these speakers switch between Beijing Mandarin and “Cosmopolitan Mandarin” according to interlocutor, situation, and domain of language use, as Mandarin spreads far and wide to remote dialect regions and these regions give back by replenishing the superstrate language, we are in many ways witnessing the dawn of a new type of Mandarin-based diglossia taking root in the Chinese-speaking world, perhaps the second such cycle in as little as two centuries.
Li, Chris Wen-Chao. 2014. “Shifting Patterns of Chinese Diglossia: Why the Dialects May Be Headed for Extinction.” Divided Languages? Diglossia, Translation and the Rise of Modernity in Japan, China and the Slavic World
Articles cited in the quote:
Ding, Yi 丁乙. 1998. “Guanyu Guifan Putonghua he Dazhong Putonghua de Taolun” 關於規範普通話和大眾普通話的討論 (Discussion on Standard Mandarin and Popular Mandarin). Yuwen Jianshe Tongxun
語文建設通訊 57: 14.
Zhang, Qing. 2005. “A Chinese Yuppie in Beijing: Phonological Variation and the Construction of a New Professional Identity.” Language in Society