chapter  16
17 Pages

Chinese English: A future power?

ByXu Zhichang

English has become ‘the world’s default mode’ for communication (McArthur 2002: 13). As a de facto lingua franca, English and its associated cultures are increasingly pluralistic. According to Kachru (1996: 135), ‘the term “Englishes” is indicative of distinct identities of the language and literature. “Englishes” symbolizes variation in form and function, used in linguistically and culturally distinct contexts, and a range of variety in literary creativity.’ As far as Chinese English (CE) is concerned, Kirkpatrick and Xu (2002: 278) suggest

that since the great majority of the estimated 350 million Chinese who are currently learning English are far more likely to use it with other non-native speakers, the development of a variety of English ‘with Chinese characteristics’ may be an inevitable result. Kirkpatrick and Xu also predict that such a variety of English will be characterized by a number of linguistic and cultural norms derived from Chinese. This chapter will review the definitions of CE, and then identify a selection of lex-

ical, syntactic, discourse and pragmatic features of CE based on an analysis of a variety of CE data including interviews, newspaper articles and literary works. The chapter will conclude by considering the likelihood of CE becoming an established and powerful variety of English.