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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: English in China: some thoughts after the Beijing Olympics
Author: Emily Tsz Yan Fong
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Institutional and learners' discourses about English and the implications for ‘China English’. China's politics and international relations with Western powers have historically determined the role and status of the English language in China (Adamson, 2004). Following the country's Open Door Policy in the 1970s, the entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Beijing Olympics, English, once considered a barbaric language, has been enjoying unprecedented popularity. The seven years leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics saw a series of foreign language campaigns in different sectors of Chinese society. The Beijing Olympics provided China with an opportunity to improve its world position and to ‘reclaim’ – and show the world – its glorious past. Since 2001, when China won the bid to host the Olympics in 2008, English learning campaigns have promoted both so-called ‘standard’ and ‘authentic’ English. The purpose of these campaigns was not only to ensure a successful Olympics, but also to equip the people with a tool essential for modernising and integrating China into the global community.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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