English in the People's Republic of China

Wei Zhang, Kingsley Bolton, Werner Botha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides an overview of the status, functions, and features of English in contemporary China. It reviews discussions of the official status of English in China and also provides an overview of the functions and uses of English in key domains of use, including the personal domain, by English‐knowing bilinguals in contemporary China. Despite the difficulties noted in applying a “varieties‐based” approach to Chinese English or China English, Andy Kirkpatrick has usefully suggested a set of commonly‐occurring features at the level of grammatical description. Chinese‐English language mixing has a long history in China that dates back to the pidgin English of Guangzhou and the treaty ports of China. In the modern era, from the 1980s onwards, English mixing reappeared in Chinese society, in particular, in urban China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of World Englishes
EditorsCecil Nelson, Zoya Proshina, Daniel Davis
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781119147282
ISBN (Print)9781119164210
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameBlackwell Handbooks in Linguistics


  • China
  • Chinese‐English language mixing
  • English‐knowing bilinguals
  • grammatical description

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'English in the People's Republic of China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Zhang, W., Bolton, K., & Botha, W. (2020). English in the People's Republic of China. In C. Nelson, Z. Proshina, & D. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of World Englishes (2nd ed., pp. 266-280). (Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics). John Wiley & Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119147282.ch15