Spread of English across Greater China

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Greater China is used in this article to refer to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Macao. While a holistic approach is adopted to present and compare the rapid spread of English and development in English language education in these geographically close, and sociopolitically, culturally and economically interrelated but hugely different societies, an emphasis is placed on mainland China owing to its size and diversity of its population. Through describing and juxtaposing English language use and education, this article unfolds the stories of the spread of English in these societies in the past few decades. It draws on the research data and discussions included in the author's recent book English language education across Greater China, with evidence and findings from other recent publications. On the basis of these discussions, this article critiques the frequently cited models and notions used to describe the spread of English in post-modern societies. It argues that there is a need to come up with new conceptual models in order to catch the essence of the phenomena in the contemporary societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-377
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Greater China
  • diaspora
  • social divisiveness
  • spread of English
  • the 'Third Wave'
  • three concentric circles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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