28 July 2010

The influence of the Chinese language on English

Here's the abstract of a 2004 article in Language, Learning & Technology about Chinese student writers writing in English:

"Second Language Cyber Rhetoric: A Study of Chinese L2 Writers in an Online Usenet Group.

by Joel Bloch

It has been argued that the expectations of traditional L2 writing classroom can be problematic for Chinese students, particularly in the area of argumentation and critical thinking. On the other hand, writing on the Internet has been shown to be substantially different in ways that may liberate the students from the constraints of the classroom. This argument, however, has typically focused on American writers, ignoring how cyberspace is being appropriated by those outside of the Western tradition of rhetoric. In this study, I examine how Chinese writers use the Internet as an alternative writing space to produce a rhetoric that incorporates traditional Chinese rhetorical forms expressed in English. The study focuses on how a group of Chinese writers respond on the Internet to a television segment accusing the Chinese government of planting spies. I found that the Chinese writers use the Internet to build a collective response to the television show using a variety of rhetorical strategies, even to the point of forcing the television network to meet with them. By situating their arguments in the tradition of Chinese rhetoric, I found that these alternative forms of writing found in cyberspace are affected by the traditions of Chinese rhetoric."

Even if the writers studied are only students, they point the way for professional writers using English as a second language.  There is no need to be intimidated by Shakespeare and company.  Using your own mother tongue's rhetorical and literary devices, you can change the literary tradition in the English language.  This does not threaten the English language, but in fact makes it even richer.  The farther away the English language gets from the UK and the USA, the better it will be as a language for literature.

1 comment:

  1. "The farther away the English language gets from the UK and the USA, the better it will be as a language for literature." - no statement could be more true.