China English and Chinese culture: A student and teacher perspective

Pan, Lin and Seargeant, Philip (2023). China English and Chinese culture: A student and teacher perspective. English Today, 39(3) pp. 174–177.



In his short list of predictions for the future of English, written in 2006, David Graddol wrote that ‘Asia may determine the future of global English’ (2006: 15). India and China especially, he suggested, were likely to be the major influences on how the concept of English as a global language would develop. As Asian economies grew, so did their political status, potentially offering a different model for the global ecology of languages. Nearly two decades on, we are beginning to see notable shifts in the way English is perceived in different parts of the world. As a variety in an Expanding Circle country (Kachru, 1985), English in China has conventionally been seen as a foreign or international language, and the concept of an indigenized variety has received less discussion than it has in Outer Circle countries. But with shifts in geopolitics, the conventional rationales for naming practices around English in China may no longer be applicable. The discussion below is centred, therefore, around the issue of what might be a better term to capture the contemporary reality of English use, and attitudes to this use, in China; and on how an emergent variety, associated with the term China English, is becoming a more and more accepted part of linguistic culture in Chinese society.

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