Monday, March 28, 2011

Was this article actually published twice?

I'm not posting this to accuse anyone of doing something unethical, I'm just genuinely confused about how something like this can happen. As far as I can tell, they are the same article.

Chen, M. & Hu, X.(2006). Towards the acceptability of China English at home and abroad.English Today, 22(4), 44-52

(Published in October)

Chen, M. & Hu, X.(2006). Towards the acceptability of China English at home and abroad.Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education 13(2), 231-240.
doi: 10.1080/13586840600833648

(Published in August)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cha's China Issue

The (online) Hong Kong based literary journal Cha is accepting submissions for their "China Issue," pitches due by April 15. See info below. I'll have an essay about English in China in there! (Assuming I write it...)

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is now accepting submissions for "The China Issue", an edition of the journal devoted exclusively to work from and about contemporary China. The issue, which will be published in June 2011, will feature poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, scholarly works and visual art exploring the modern Middle Kingdom. We are looking for submissions from a wide range of Chinese and international voices on the social, political and cultural forces which are shaping the country. If you have something interesting, opinionated or fresh to say about China today, we would like to hear from you. Please note that we can only accept submissions in English.

We are pleased to announce that Cha former contributor, distinguished Chinese scholar and poet Yibing Huang will be joining Cha as guest editor for the issue (see his biography below) and read the submissions with co-editors Tammy Ho and Jeff Zroback. Huang has graciously agreed to lend us his extensive knowledge of Chinese literature and keen critical eye to help us select the pieces and shape the issue.

The Reviews section will be devoted exclusively to books related to China. If you have a recent book that you think would be right for review in "The China Issue", we encourage you to contact our Reviews Editor Eddie Tay at Books should be sent to Eddie before the end of March 2011.

If you would like to have work considered for "The China Issue", please submit by email to by 15th April, 2011. Please include "The China Issue" in the subject line of the email or your work will automatically be considered for one of the regular issues. Submissions to the issue should conform to our guidelines.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CELT 2012 Hong Kong
Christians in English Language Teaching: Exploring the Volcation of English Language Teaching and Scholarship

OK, suddenly thinking it might be worth it to stick around in China for this. Jan. 27-29 at Chinese University Hong Kong. Plenary speakers: Suresh Canagarajah, Agnes Lam, Zoltan Dornyei.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Comparison vs Description

Should we get away from the 'comparing new Englishes to old-school Englishes' way of looking at varieties of English, or embrace it as a useful tool? Thinking about whether a study that starts with "native speaker" reactions is the best way to go -- it may be preferable not to use categories of 'features' generated by NS reactions....or, it may be useful if the goal is a comparison. Is the goal comparison or description of the cultural/sociolinguistic place of English in (a) society on its own terms? That would be the question. I can see value in doing either one

Friday, March 04, 2011

Theory, or How the Present Produces the Past

New theories create new problems -- or they respond to problems -- by "problematizing" things. That's fine.

Yet what strikes me as wrong with this is the assumption that "traditional" or previous ways of thinking/being/doing/understanding certain issues have not yet been 'problematized.'

There is an assumption that if certain things were not, in the past, understood in the way they are in the present, with a theoretical perspective available only in the present, then these things were previously misunderstood, or at the very least have been 'undertheorized.'

This strikes me as mostly a political, not an intellectual, judgement. And while it is not wrong to make your approach to research fit into how things are moving in your field at the moment, I think there is a kind of contemporary arrogance to arguing that old theory X is problematic because it did not take into account new theory Y.

New theories don't simple replace old theories. They produce old theories. They tell us what old theories were and why they were wrong, doing so in the light of theories that exist in the present. In a scholarly climate where 'knowledge creation' is the watchword of research, new theories will always have the upper hand.

(Unless you want to get into some arguments about space and time, which I don't.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

English in the World and "Ideology"

Looking more into "language ideologies" and came across this helpful footnote from Seargeant 2008:
Approaching this issue from the tradition that has developed under the rubric of ‘language ideologies’ (Woolard, 1998; Blommaert, 2006), the assertion that the subject of English in the world is one that is predominantly ideology-led reads as something of a truism. Within this tradition, all language use happens within a framework of entrenched beliefs (ideologies) about language, and it is these patterns of belief that create the pragmatic conventions and orientations which imbue linguistic behaviour with particular meanings (Silverstein, 1979). In the case of ‘world’ English, however, the ideologies that structure research and discussion are often explicitly foregrounded, leading to a situation where debate in this area regularly takes a self-consciously political turn. There is, then, a distinction – though one more of degree than of kind – between the explicitly ideological (the political) and the ideology of entrenched beliefs (the cultural); and it is the former which inflects the majority of work on English within a globalized context.
OK....let's hear it for the latter, though! That sounds better to me.