English as a spatial resource and the claimed competence of Chinese STEM professionals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This interview-based study of 24 Chinese STEM scholars in a midwestern US university explores their competence for professional communication in their workplace. Though they acknowledge a lack of advanced grammatical proficiency in English, they state that they are successful in professional communication. Their success results from their use of diverse semiotic resources beyond language, and the strategic alignment of semiotic resources with spatial and social ecologies in their communication. To explain this competence, the article argues that we have to adopt a spatial orientation to communication as an activity, shifting from structuralist models which prioritize grammar as an autonomous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Englishes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'English as a spatial resource and the claimed competence of Chinese STEM professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this