Language attitudes and linguistic features in the ‘China English’ debate

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Abstract

ABSTRACT:  In this paper we shall first try to define the term ‘China English’ (with our own definition of this term deliberated in the ‘Discussion’ section) as a performance variety in the larger conceptualization of World Englishes. Following that, we will adduce some linguistic features of ‘China English’ from the relevant literature at four levels (phonology, lexis, syntax, and discourse pragmatics) and discuss the arguments in favor of developing localized pedagogic models in Expanding Circle countries such as China. Then we will report on the findings of our research project: college teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the ideal pedagogic model of college English in mainland China –‘China English’ as opposed to a native-speaker-based standard. Our findings suggest that the preferred teaching model of college English in mainland Chinese classrooms is a standard variety of English (e.g. ‘General American’ or ‘Received Pronunciation’) supplemented with salient, well-codified, and properly implemented features of ‘China English’. The research design and overall findings will be discussed in light of a systematic comparison and contrast with those in a similar survey conducted with mainland Chinese university students.

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