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Language ideologies in the Chinese context: orientations to English as a lingua franca

Language ideologies in the Chinese context: orientations to English as a lingua franca
Language ideologies in the Chinese context: orientations to English as a lingua franca
The research on English as a lingua franca (ELF) has demonstrated the linguistic viability of Englishes that do not follow native English norms, which motivates me to reconsider Chinese speakers’ use of English, which often ‘violates’ native English norms, in terms of the legitimacy of Chinese speakers’ linguistic creativity. However, the issue of language legitimacy is often an issue of language ideology. For this reason, the research project explores the legitimacy of Chinese speakers’ linguistic creativity, with the focus on language ideology. Language ideology is a concept that links the understanding of language

with the understanding of power structure where language users are situated. Language ideologies are often visible in how people talk about language forms and how people evaluate particular language forms and justify their evaluations. Language ideologies are also visible in language practices and identities. In addition, language ideology is a process through which language users engage with power structure where they see themselves situated. In light of these, the project investigates Chinese speakers’ language ideologies with the focus on Chinese speakers’ perceptions of English and their views of identities and language. The project also explores the process through which Chinese speakers engage with power structure that they perceive as relevant in regulating their language behaviours. In particular, the study uses questionnaires, interviews and focus groups to retrieve Chinese speakers’ perceptions, identities and power struggles revolving around Chinese speakers’ creativity vs. normativity. The project demonstrates that Chinese speakers are caught in dilemmas between creativity and normativity. On the one hand, Chinese speakers are positive towards creativity, focusing on the communicative value of Chinese speakers’ creativity and the role of the creativity in projecting multiple identities associated with an imagined national community and international communities of practice. On the other hand, Chinese speakers are reluctant to accept Chinese speakers’ creativity as legitimate, showing their concerns for the conflicts with current authorities in English, which emphasise the conformity to native Englishes. The power struggles that are revealed in the process of debating standard provide insights into two orientations on the development of English among Chinese speakers. One is to ‘standardise’ and the other is to ‘unstandardise’. Despite the heated debates, the power struggles tend to end up with a negotiated result that points to what is described as ‘compromised linguistic legitimacy’. The research project thus provides not only new understandings of Chinese speakers’ creativity but also have implications for the research on ELF and the legitimation of Chinese speakers’ ELF (ChELF). The implications include the need to expand research agendas in the area of ELF, the need to consider the power-agency negotiation in ELF awareness-raising, and the need to integrate a bottom-up approach in language policy in China.
Chinese English as a lingua franca, English as a lingua franca, agency, community of practice, identities, imagined community, language ideologies, linguistic legitimacy, power
2192-8177
Mouton de Gruyter
Wang, Ying
dae44497-8e51-48ab-8173-7844f152f6e9
Wang, Ying
dae44497-8e51-48ab-8173-7844f152f6e9

Wang, Ying (2020) Language ideologies in the Chinese context: orientations to English as a lingua franca (Developments in English as a Lingua Franca, 12), vol. 12, Mouton de Gruyter, 314pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

The research on English as a lingua franca (ELF) has demonstrated the linguistic viability of Englishes that do not follow native English norms, which motivates me to reconsider Chinese speakers’ use of English, which often ‘violates’ native English norms, in terms of the legitimacy of Chinese speakers’ linguistic creativity. However, the issue of language legitimacy is often an issue of language ideology. For this reason, the research project explores the legitimacy of Chinese speakers’ linguistic creativity, with the focus on language ideology. Language ideology is a concept that links the understanding of language

with the understanding of power structure where language users are situated. Language ideologies are often visible in how people talk about language forms and how people evaluate particular language forms and justify their evaluations. Language ideologies are also visible in language practices and identities. In addition, language ideology is a process through which language users engage with power structure where they see themselves situated. In light of these, the project investigates Chinese speakers’ language ideologies with the focus on Chinese speakers’ perceptions of English and their views of identities and language. The project also explores the process through which Chinese speakers engage with power structure that they perceive as relevant in regulating their language behaviours. In particular, the study uses questionnaires, interviews and focus groups to retrieve Chinese speakers’ perceptions, identities and power struggles revolving around Chinese speakers’ creativity vs. normativity. The project demonstrates that Chinese speakers are caught in dilemmas between creativity and normativity. On the one hand, Chinese speakers are positive towards creativity, focusing on the communicative value of Chinese speakers’ creativity and the role of the creativity in projecting multiple identities associated with an imagined national community and international communities of practice. On the other hand, Chinese speakers are reluctant to accept Chinese speakers’ creativity as legitimate, showing their concerns for the conflicts with current authorities in English, which emphasise the conformity to native Englishes. The power struggles that are revealed in the process of debating standard provide insights into two orientations on the development of English among Chinese speakers. One is to ‘standardise’ and the other is to ‘unstandardise’. Despite the heated debates, the power struggles tend to end up with a negotiated result that points to what is described as ‘compromised linguistic legitimacy’. The research project thus provides not only new understandings of Chinese speakers’ creativity but also have implications for the research on ELF and the legitimation of Chinese speakers’ ELF (ChELF). The implications include the need to expand research agendas in the area of ELF, the need to consider the power-agency negotiation in ELF awareness-raising, and the need to integrate a bottom-up approach in language policy in China.

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More information

Submitted date: 8 May 2019
Accepted/In Press date: 6 February 2020
Published date: 22 June 2020
Keywords: Chinese English as a lingua franca, English as a lingua franca, agency, community of practice, identities, imagined community, language ideologies, linguistic legitimacy, power

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431833
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431833
ISSN: 2192-8177
PURE UUID: dfff07d7-626c-4972-8e9c-eeb89bd44c99

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 22:41

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