Models for Trilingual Education in the People’s Republic of China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Since 2002, the People’s Republic of China has instigated a variety of language policies in education ostensibly designed to foster trilingualism in ethnic minority groups. This chapter reports the findings of a project studying the implementation of trilingual education policies (covering the ethnic minority language, Chinese and English) in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Jilin, Gansu, Guizhou, Qinghai and Tibet. The study identifies four models of trilingual education—accretive, balanced, transitional and depreciative—that have emerged in the different regions, and explores reasons for the various manifestations. While there appears to be consensus among key stakeholders regarding the potential benefits of trilingual education, the differences in the four models reveal tensions in the context of policy implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMinority Languages and Multilingual Education : Bridging the Local and the Global
Editors Durk Gorter, Victoria Zenotz, Jasone Cenoz
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media B.V.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789401779982
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEducational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)1572-0292
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1656


  • Bilingualism
  • Chinese
  • English
  • Language policy
  • Minority language
  • Trilingual education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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