From Chinese English, Chinglish to Standard English

Table of Content

With the trend of globalization, modern English has also shown signs of localization. Chinese English and Chinglish are two distinct forms of linguistic expression with Chinese characteristics. Chinese English is considered a variety of English, while Chinglish serves as a transitional language for learners before they become proficient in standard English. Ultimately, both varieties merge into Standard English.

Chinese English is mainly used for communication and association between Chinese and foreigners. It takes Standard English as its core, while also incorporating Chinese characteristics. This ensures the intelligibility and acceptability of Chinese English as a medium of information. Additionally, the inclusion of Chinese characteristics” addresses the relative lack of thinking mode found in traditional Chinese culture when expressed in Standard English.

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As language continues to develop, the issue of appropriateness has become more important than that of standardization.

Although Chinese English mainly manifests specific things in China, it should be understood and accepted by English-speaking countries when Chinese express themselves. Chinese English mainly includes two types: the first one is produced through calque and semanteme, such as one country, two systems,” “Chinese herbal medicine,” and “one arrow, two hawks.” English-speaking countries are able to understand the meaning literally, even though it didn’t arise in Standard English. The other type is produced through Mandarin or the pronunciations of Guangdong and Fujian areas, such as mahjong, kung fu, tang yuan, feng shui and Cantonese.

In addition, it is important to provide necessary explanations for English-speaking countries to understand specific aspects of Chinese culture. Furthermore, it helps fill the gaps in the English language when trying to express certain Chinese characteristics.

Although English is widely used around the world, it can be challenging to accurately convey certain aspects of Chinese culture and ways of thinking such as imperial examinations, the May Fourth Movement, Four Modernizations, and clean politics. These concepts do not have direct translations in English.

Therefore, using Chinese English properly can express the original meaning more faithfully.

Cultural output in China began long before the 16th century. For example, words like tea” and “typhoon” have been accepted by foreigners and become part of Standard English vocabulary. Nowadays, with increasingly frequent international communication, English-speaking countries also use Chinese English when introducing unique aspects of Chinese culture.

Chinglish may seem confusing at first glance, but its meaning can be easily understood.

Chinglish is a combination of Chinese and English. It refers to the use of vocabulary and expressions that do not conform to the rules and customs of Standard English, making it difficult for English-speaking countries to understand and accept. This distinguishes it from Chinese English.

The origin of Chinglish can be traced back to negative language transfer when learning a second language. Learners often rely on their mother tongue and connect its related culture to the second language, resulting in linguistic transfer.

However, English and Chinese do not belong to the same language system. As a result of their different nationalities and languages, they have distinct ways of thinking and customs of expression. When attempting to express the same concept in English or Chinese, different vocabularies, grammatical structures, and expressions are often used. Therefore, when some Chinese students describe I like you very much” as “I very like you,” it has a negative impact on learning a second language due to negative transfer of language.

A remarkable feature of Chinglish is its non-normative nature.

Chinglish does not usually follow the characteristics of English. It is mainly characterized by repetition, incorrect collocation, and overuse of certain phrases. This kind of English will not be easily understood or accepted by English-speaking countries.

However, some aspects of Chinglish do not contain significant syntax errors and have been widely used by Chinese people in international communication for a long time. As a result, Chinglish is gradually being recognized by English-speaking countries and is evolving into Chinese English.

Chinglish can change to Chinese English depending on its unique characteristics that set it apart from Chinese English. There are two main differences:

  1. Variability: Unlike the stability of Chinese English, Chinglish is generated by English learners during the process of learning and improves as they advance their level. Eventually, it will be closer to Standard English.
  2. Creativity: Chinglish is more creative than Chinese English since it’s generated by learners during the process of learning.

Due to difficulties in expressing themselves in English, some people randomly select or create words, phrases, and sentences. However, as their English proficiency improves, learners work to reconstruct and reform the relationship between language and form. This will lead to the gradual disappearance of non-standard Chinglish and its replacement by Standard English.

4. The blending of Chinese English and Chinglish into Standard English is a result of globalization. All variations of the English language are collectively known as World Englishes.

People use English not only for communication among English speakers, but also to communicate with non-English speakers. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a common standard and paradigm. Otherwise, misunderstandings can occur due to different interpretations of expressions, rendering English ineffective as an international language.

Under the current environment of globalization, English is undergoing an unprecedented change as the use of Chinese symbols in English is strongly influencing Standard English.

A large number of Chinese vocabulary words are making their way into the English language, reflecting ancient China’s unique culture, such as Confucianism and the Four Books and Five Classics. Additionally, due to the rapid growth of China’s economy, some Chinglish expressions are being incorporated into English communication because of the increasing interest in learning English and frequency of international contacts. Chinese English is objective and is set to play a significant role as China continues to develop rapidly.

Although Chinese English is not enough to become an international variety, it is still an essential part of World Englishes and a complement to Standard English.

In conclusion, Chinese English and Chinglish use different ways of expressing Chinese characteristics. With the continuous improvement of English teaching in China, the level of English proficiency among Chinese people is constantly increasing. Some non-nominative Chinglish will disappear while the rest will gradually integrate into the world’s Standard English.

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From Chinese English, Chinglish to Standard English. (2016, Sep 09). Retrieved from

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