The Use of English as a Lingua Franca in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: A Case Study of Native Chinese Teachers in Beijing

  • Danping Wang
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 5)


With the rapid rise of China’s economy, Mandarin Chinese (henceforth Chinese, denotes ‘Putonghua’ in the People’s Republic of China) has quickly emerged as the new must-have language for this millennium. The teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) has become popular in the past decade, and the large influx of international students of Chinese has brought different cultures and languages into the classroom and society. English has also spread around the world, and as a result both Chinese teachers and international students of Chinese use English as a lingua franca (ELF) to assist the teaching and learning of Chinese. This study investigates native Chinese teachers’ beliefs about ELF. Three native Chinese speakers from universities in Beijing were invited to participate in one-on-one in-depth interviews. Findings indicate that there are three categories of beliefs which can be classified adopting Macaro’s terms of the ‘virtual, maximal and optional positions’. The teachers’ beliefs were found to be considerably influenced by their English learning experience, English language proficiency, national identity and English language identity. The study concludes that Chinese will not replace English as another lingua franca and thus native Chinese teachers should develop an ELF pedagogy to meet the needs of multilingual international students of Chinese.


International Student Foreign Language Chinese Culture Chinese Language Chinese Word 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General EducationTechnological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi)Tsing YiHong Kong

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