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‘Chinese English or English Chinese?’


Andy Kirkpatrick
  • Griffith University, Australia
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-04-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1004


A question which is frequently asked in discussions about the future roles of English and Chinese (Modern Standard Chinese or Putonghua and often also referred to as Mandarin) in the Asia-Pacific region is whether Chinese will replace English as the primary regional language or lingua franca. In this article, I shall first consider the roles that each language is playing in China itself and within the Asia-Pacific region. I shall argue that it is important to take these languages together, as the combination of Modern Standard Chinese and English is threatening regional languages, including other major Chinese languages such as Cantonese. In dealing with these two major languages in combination, I shall also consider how each language has influenced and continues to influence the other linguistically, illustrating this with examples at the levels of lexis, syntax, rhetoric and pragmatic norms. I shall conclude by tentatively suggesting how the roles of these two languages may develop in future, and the potential sociolinguistic consequences of this.



Keywords: language contact; L1/substrate influence; word order, pragmatic norms; contrastive rhetoric

关键词: 语言接触; 第一语言/低层语影响; 词序; 语用规则; 对比修辞


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About the article

Andy Kirkpatrick

Andy Kirkpatrick is Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. He has lived and worked in many countries in East and Southeast Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. His most recent books are English as an Asian Language: Implications for Language Education, co-edited with Roly Sussex and published by Springer, and Chinese Rhetoric and Writing, co-authored with Xu Zhichang and published by Parlor Press. He is founding and chief editor of the journal and book series Multilingual Education, published by Springer, and has recently been appointed editor-in-chief of the Asia Journal of TEFL. He is Director of the Asian Corpus of English (ACE) project.


Published Online: 2015-04-14

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: Global Chinese, ISSN (Online) 2199-4382, ISSN (Print) 2199-4374, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1004. Export Citation

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