Sunday, September 19, 2010

More CE brainstorming

I had a weird conversation with somebody recently: I said something like "yeah, it's interesting how English is becoming a big part of Chinese society, it's pretty fascinating since it doesn't have much of a history there compared to some other countries" [yes, I am aware that there have been English/Chinese interactions for hundreds of years, but in terms of English really taking hold in the PRC, it's relatively recent] and she made a somewhat confusing comment like "that's a very typical attitude of an English-speaking person." I didn't really get what she was getting at -- maybe she was saying that only an L1 English speaker would think English in a non-English-speaking country was fascinating/interesting/worth studying?

Anyway, I think I need to be leaning even harder than I thought on the "I'm not Chinese" angle. And I want to actually embrace the connection between native English speakers and Chinese English. I exchanged brief thoughts on this with Oliver Radtke last year -- he's interested in looking at both Chinese and non-Chinese attitudes toward Chinglish, which in his case I think refers more to the ludicrous signage one often reads about in popular articles on the topic. Most previous studies in "my field" (i.e. ESL/L2 writing/World Englishes) focus on Chinese English speakers' attitudes about CE/Chinglish. Hu included some NESs in her studies but again, those were generic 'attitude' studies.