Chinese white-collar workers and multilingual creativity in the diaspora

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31 Scopus citations


The nearly universal requirement of English study in colleges has afforded the language an unprecedented institutional status and given rise to an increasingly large English-literate public in the Expanding Circle countries. Adopting the lens of domestic diaspora, the present study explores Chinese white-collar workers' multilingual creativity when they seek to represent themselves as a distinct social form and to articulate their diasporic consciousness on an electronic bulletin board. Using thematic and rhetorical analysis, the study reveals not only patterns of social and personal behaviors of the new Chinese workforce but also the symbolic strategies that they develop to achieve agency. Rather than confining themselves to bilingual resources, white-collar workers actively utilize resources from multiple languages (such as Standard English, Standard Mandarin, Chinese regional dialects, and Internet language), and the multimodal functions of the digital technologies. Their idiosyncratic, fluid use of English defies the time-honored scholarly view of China English as a discrete formal linguistic system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-427
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Englishes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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