Cultural conceptualisations in Chinese English: Implications for ELT in China

Zhichang Xu, Farzad Sharifian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


What makes a variety of English distinct from others lies not only in its
phonology, lexis, syntax, discourse, and pragmatics, but also in the distinctive ways that its speakers encode their cultural conceptualisations. There has been considerable research on different varieties of English at both linguistic and cultural levels. In particular, over the last three to four decades, researchers have investigated features of Chinese English, perceptions of and attitudes towards Chinese English, as well as implications of Chinese English for English language teaching and intercultural communication involving Chinese speakers of English. However, a review of the literature reveals little research on cultural conceptualisations in Chinese English. ‘Cultural conceptualisations’ encompass cultural schemas, cultural categories, and cultural conceptual metaphors. In this chapter, we adopt a Cultural Linguistics approach to researching Chinese English, using cultural conceptualisations as a framework to analyse empirical data, including interviews, newspaper articles, textbooks, literary works by Chinese English authors, and online media articles in English about China. Towards the end of the chapter, we also explore implications of researching cultural conceptualisations in Chinese English for English language teaching (ELT) in China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching Chinese English
Subtitle of host publicationThe State of the Art
EditorsZhichang Xu, Deyuan He, David Deterding
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319531106
ISBN (Print)9783319531083
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education
ISSN (Print)2213-3208
ISSN (Electronic)2213-3216


  • Cultural linguistics
  • Chinese English
  • Cultural schema
  • Cultural category
  • Cultural conceptual metaphor
  • ELT in China

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