CGE seminar Wed 14th October: Dr Ying Wang

When: Wed 14th October, 5-7pm

Where: Avenue Campus, 65/LTC

Who: Dr Ying Wang, University of Southampton

Chinese university students’ ELF awareness: Impacts of language education in China

A wealth of research into the global phenomenon of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has motivated the call for the development of ELF awareness in language pedagogies. This presentation reports on a qualitative study of Chinese university students’ ELF awareness, which is conceptualised with regards to language education. The data retrieved through 24 semi-structured interviews demonstrate that Chinese university students are still framing their understanding of English with the affiliation to idealised notions of monolingual origin of native English, despite being situated in a changing world where multilingual speakers of English are becoming the majority of English users and ELF is becoming a prominent communicative phenomenon. The participants’ account reveals the role of language education as the interface between language ideology and linguistic reality in China. The impacts of language education are visible on language choice, on learning process, and on the (dis)connection between English as a subject matter in the learning context and English as an object in the wider sociolinguistic context. Based on this study, the presentation suggests ways of minimising the gap in ELF awareness. While this presentation appreciates Chinese philosophy of learning, the focus is on promoting awareness of English in relation to its sociocultural context and considering “imagined communities” in the learning so as to come to terms with sociolinguistic reality. In light of these, the study conducted in the Chinese university context, which receives the legacy of English as a foreign language (EFL) and simultaneously witnesses the expanding role of ELF, invites the deliberation on ways of representing the ELF phenomenon in language learning contexts where the shift of focus from EFL to ELF is relevant.

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