Sunday, November 29, 2009

NES/NNES Shibboleths?

I'm almost positive
* use of articles
* use of prepositions

* -s for third person verbs
* -ed for past tense verbs
* þ and θ pronunciation

Friday, November 27, 2009

What is an English dept for in a non-English speaking country?

Does the focus on humanities/cultural studies impede the improvement of ELT by conflating Western civilization, literature, etc. with actual everyday usage of language? Maybe that's not even an issue.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TEML isn't

Pennycook and Coutan-Marin (2005), in an article of the same name, refer to the evangelical Christian practice of English teaching as "Teaching English as a Missionary Language." This is an inconsistent use of the TE(x)L acronym. In common usage, (x) is an adjective modifying language (think of EAL, ESL, EFL -- additional, second, and foreign, respectively) and referring to the learners' relationship to the language. TEML suggests that English is being taught for the purpose of later being used, by the learners, as a language for missionary work, which, while such a thing is possible, is not at all what Pennycook and Coutan-Marin are talking about.

I'm just saying.

PS - this article, or at least the version of it I can see online, contains a completely fake quote from George Bush about non-Christians "burning in hell." Did the authors bother to consider that if the piece they quoted was listed under "humor" on an atheist website, it might just be, you know, a joke?

Bibliographies I Would Like to Assemble Someday

-- Comprehensive Bibliography of articles on China English (as a variety of English -- not just English in China) -- published in both English and Chinese. (I was on my way to doing this and then I lost a bunch of data -- still hope to do it within the next 12 month)

-- Critical approaches to critical pedagogy -- both research-based and conceptual papers critiquing traditional concepts of critical pedagogy. (Cuz maybe it's been reified enough for us to start talking about it as "traditional") Important to have sources that are explicitly in favor of CP and those skeptical of it, not only one side.

-- Variety of perspectives on religion and TESOL. Separate sections: Christianity and TESOL (specifically interested in a variety of perspectives on how Christianity and ELT are integrated, mainstreaming/making explicit Christian perspectives, goals, purposes of ELT, etc.) Islam and TESOL, other relgions and TESOL (what's out there?).

-- World Englishes / EFL in pop music. (English as a Language of Popular Music??? ELPM?)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chinglish vs China English, again (and again)

This distinction between Chinglish and China English is going to be more important than I thought.

I think that in popular discourse, all of the following are "Chinglish" :

- funny or ungrammatical English signs/menus/other printed stuff in China that is the result of bad computer translations

- funny or ungrammatical English signs/menus/other printed stuff in China that is the result of human error

- Unusual but grammatical signs/menus/other printed stuff in China

- Any"ungrammatical" thing a Chinese person says or writes in English

- Any vaguely "non-standard" but grammatical thing a Chinese person says or writes in English

In other words, this just-now-made-up hypothesis is that if it looks/sounds weird to a native speaker and it is physically located in China or came from China, it is Chinglish.

I'm not sure I really think that, but I'm not going to go on a sanctimonious mission to change everybody's mind. I'm just going to keep slowly changing the Wikipedia page on Chinglish until it reflects a broader scope of issues related to English and China.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evidence that you speak "real" English -

-- if you (an NNS) can disagree with somebody else about what is proper usage and be confident that you are not wrong.

In reality, the Chinese editors with profound understandings of local context orientated the textbook writing for Chinese students’ benefits and ensured the localized textbook to achieve the local education objectives. There was evidence that the Chinese editors did not believe that “nativeness” means expertise (Rampton, 1990), as they took advantages of their knowledge of Chinese cultures to deal with the China-related content and also made good use of their English knowledge to deal with language accuracy and appropriateness without feeling disadvantaged as non-native speakers.


Round 2...Fight!

Phillipson's back with Lx Imp Cont'd. Suggested subtitle: How English Poisons Everything

Turning my SSLW Presentation into a paper

Supervisor says "explain how you have developed the questionnaire items, which should be connected to your lit review" which means that I have to now do what we talked about in class yesterday (a strategy a lot of writers, L1 and L2 use): go back to the literature and pretend I got my ideas from experts instead of just making them up off the top of my head. Luckily, you can always find a way to connect your ideas to others' if you have some rhetorical deftness.

I really think I've gotten this far in my academic career simply by knowing how to craft good sentences, not by having good ideas. But maybe those are more related than I give myself credit for.

Anyway, here comes Mohan and Lo 1985: "We suggest that if there are differences in the ability of Chinese and Western students to organize essays in English, the source of these differences does not lie in a preference for “indirectness” in the language and culture of Chinese. Rather, it lies in the emphasis of the English language instruction programs to which students are exposed."

That's what I'm sayin', bro.

Also potentially useful:
International students in English-speaking universities: Adjustment factors (Maureen Snow Andrade)

and more, I'm sure...加油

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CP pro and con

...just off the top of my head...


recognize inequality and try to make it better
recognize "real life" outside the classroom
treat students like human beings
encourage students to question (unjust) behaviors and practices in society
emphasize agency in learning, transforming, and using knowledge


assumes a certain political views untenable to most people
hegemony of hegemony (sort of), pessimism
students tend not to want teachers to talk about political issues
theory is distant from practice to a high degree

PS: According to Google no one has ever typed the phrase"I don't believe in hegemony" on the internet. Until now. I'm not saying I know enough about it, but it does seem to be at the heart of CP, and that heart could be the part I find unsatisfying. This book by a Canadian philosopher posits "affinity" as a construct for social change instead. Not totally sure what it is but I think I kind of get it.


It seems to me that "teaching English as an international language" in the sense of teaching someone to use/master "English as an international language" is impossible. Canagarajah's idea of Lingua Franca English (is it even teachable?) makes more sense, because there are bazillions of possible contexts in which people use English internationally, and they call for very different things.

"Teachers have to develop in students a readiness to engage with a repertoire of codes in transnational contact situations"

"we now have to train students to shuttle between communities by negotiating the relevant codes"

"we have to focus more on communicative strategies rather than focusing only on mastering the grammar rules of a single variety"

"the relativity of norms"

this is hard!

EIL ≠ local variety


No one variety of English = English as an international language

There is no international variety, there is only how people use language to communicate


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tentative list of China English researchers

List of people currently or recently (within the last 10 years) doing research (presenting/publishing) on China English, with links when applicable. Can't list everyone here, but trying to list those who have published in major int'l journals, major Chinese journals, or who have written prolifically in other places (and/or done MAs or PhDs on the subject)...


( x = contacted for leads on AILA idea, o = not planning to contact for that)
Jiang Yajun (Donghua University - in Shanghai) where is this? X
Fan Fang (Shantou University) X
Xiaoye You (Penn State) X
Xu Zhichang (HKIED) O
David C.S. Li (HKIED) X
He Deyuan (CUHK - I think) X
Xiangping Du (University of Hertfordshire? not totally sure)
Mingjun Lu (University of Toronto? Not sure where she is now. Not focussed on ELT, more interested in philosophy) O
Hu Xiaoqiong (Three Gorges University)
Jin Huikang (only publishes in Chinese - he's at a university in Guangzhou, I forget which)
Olliver Lutz Radtke (Heidlberg - author of photobook "Chinglish") X

EFL/EIL/ELF/LFE/WEs & Pedagogy

Am interested in what people who look at globalization and/of English have to say about pedagogical implications -- looking for the best article from each of the following:


intro to "Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice" seems good but may not be focused enough on pedagogy. "The Place of WES in Composition" is good by focused on writing.

'Research perspectives on teaching English as a lingua franca'. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24, Cambridge University Press 2004, 209-39.

Current Perspectives on Teaching World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca
J Jenkins - Tesol Quarterly, 2006 -


Not necessarily interested in the allegedly "conservative" dudes: Crystal, Quirk, Trudgill (supposidely Gorlach also belongs there)...but that could be useful to.

Wondering about the "angry dudes" also - Phillipson & Pennycook.

David C.S. Li's article Teaching and Researching China English is good but I also want to get more general articles before I jump into the China English stuff -- I actually know of only about two articles that really directly address teaching.

Maybe will update this once I've got some good ideas for articles.


my man Holliday comes thru in a big way! His 2005 book the struggle to teach English as an international language. Not sure if there's a condensed argument someplace, an article or intro I can yoink.

English as an international language: perspectives and pedagogical issues

By Farzad Sharifian

Just realize I am writing this blog wiki-style and all my public idea snippets are thought up in twitter-speak. WRITING TECH RESTRUCTURES CONSCIOUSNESS YO!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wordle Cloud for 8 articles on plagiarism

Does this cloud itself constitute plagiarism?

Sentence involving the biggest words:

Plagiarism: students writing English language
Wordle: Plagiarism

Monday, November 09, 2009

SSLW 2009 = a success

Schmoozin-a-plenty and some exciting news about the location of IAWE 2010. Let's just say that when Larry Smith told me the next conference would be "a little closer" to where I live, that was an understatement.

The 16th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes, Inc. (IAWE) will be held in Vancouver, Canada from 25 to 27 July, 2010. Members of the association are invited to propose papers for presentation or participate by attending the conference. Please visit the website for latest updates:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Seeking Same

Confused PhD student seeks viable post-critical theory and/or pedagogy for socially engaged language-teaching practice. Must incorporate valuable insights from critical theory with very little of the jargon or cynicism. Must not see interrogation of dominant discourses as the end of academic inquiry. Must lack even the appearance of being motivated by radical political beliefs. Must not assume that the definitions of words like "equity" and "freedom" and "liberation" and "democracy" and "possibility" are fixed and mean the same thing to everyone. Must clearly articulate the meaning and desirability of "transformation."

Must be rooted in one or more of the following: hope, love, desire, ethics, joy, curiosity, the Emic, the Local, the Personal, the Ineffable.

Must believe another world is possible but not for a minute presume to describe it to me until I have described it for myself.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Some data on my SSLW project (Part II)

Finally making good progress on my SSLW project. (presenting this Thursday!)

It's turning out pretty cool & interesting. Just trying to fine-tune some stuff and try to explain how the findings/implications should be described. So much of academic writing is creatively leaving things out -- I'm looking for the balance between describing all the data and actually giving it a shape that's interesting and useful.

Some interesting stuff came up -- and keep in mind I am, for the most part, no longer "leading the witness" the way I did during my MA research when I didn't know any better. Students said stuff about Chinglish and varieties of English totally independent of anything I thought.

Some student quotes:

"I think teacher should know what the students really need. Then help them to write that things and judge. For example, many students want to learn how to write resume. The teacher should give suggestions on how to write and tell the students what the HR suppose in one’s resume. The teacher may get all the resumes, tell the students which students will he/she take if he/she is HR. I think people will be interested in what they need. Many useful English writings are not difficult, but Western people have different way to write it…Teachers should let students know it."

"A teacher regard exams as the final aim of writing would never attract students. So his task is not only teaching how to use words or sentences but also the culture.”