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Academic Paper

Title: The use of English in China's real estate advertising
Author: Songqing Li
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: (personal interest - not currently working at a university)
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: One's native language is normally a marker of national identity. This is particularly true of China, which many regard as a relatively linguistically homogeneous nation. The huge impact of the spread of English on the local culture of China alongside a buoyant wave of global capitalism raises interesting questions such as the following: (i) Does the spread of English challenge or undermine the sense of China's national identity? (ii) By drawing upon English as a new linguistic and cultural resource, is China now redefining its own culture? (iii) What strategies are observable in the use of English intranationally in contemporary China? To answer these questions, this study examines the use of English in China's real estate advertising. The relatively new discourse of real estate advertisements in mainland China has been attributed to the process of increasing urbanization which has accelerated since 2000. In addition, as one of the most fundamental symbols of a nation, land is closely associated with national identity, which suggests that real estate transformed from land can be taken as a source discourse for an investigation of national identity (Smith, 1991; First and Avraham, 2007). By focusing on the use of English in China's real estate advertising and its possible association with the national identity of mainland China, this study discusses the strategic use of English as a linguistic and cultural resource in identity construction.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 28, Issue 3.

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