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Learning English as a third language by Uyghur students in Xinjiang : a blessing in disguise?

Sunuodula, Mamtimyn and Feng, Anwei (2011) 'Learning English as a third language by Uyghur students in Xinjiang : a blessing in disguise?', in English language education across Greater China. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 260-283.


The spread and rapid rise in status of English language in education and society across China in recent years has been widely discussed and debated by scholars as well as policy makers. More recently, the phenomena described as “English and Chinese bilingual education” has been promoted and gained currency in educational establishments in economically developed costal regions and urban centres in the country, with the ostensible aim of achieving both language proficiency and subject learning simultaneously. The term “bilingual education” has become part of the everyday vocabulary for parents, educators and policy makers alike. This article focuses on the impact of this change on the already multilingual but economically less developed linguistic minority regions, using a case study of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Based on the empirical research, the article tries to demonstrate that foreign language, in particular English language, provision in education and society had had an empowering impact on some Uyghur students who found that they could be very successful in learning a foreign language, even without the high proficiency level in the second language, which is a pre-requisite for succeeding in other areas. 近年来,英语教学在中国得到大力推广并且受到社会各阶层,尤其是教育界的高度重视。短暂的几年之内,“汉英双语教育”在沿海及其它经济发达地区逐渐兴起并且迅速蔓延。“双语教育”这个术语也相应地加入了社会各个阶层,广大父母,教育界以及决策人员的日常用语。这一现象引起了国内外新闻界,学术界和国内有关决策者的广泛辩论。那么,这一现象在经济相对落后,多种语言并存的边远少数民族地区的影响如何呢? 这篇文章以社会语言学,教育学的理论为框架,以新疆维吾尔族大学生学习英语为实例,试图探讨和回答有关少数民族学生第三语言学习方面的一些问题。文章采用法国社会学家Pierre Bourdieu提出的“文化资本”的理论概念来分析实证研究结果并且对当地各种语言之间的动态关系进行理论解释。文章做出以下结论:一些维吾尔族学生所表现的极高的英语学习动机来自于他们强烈的民族与个人自尊感。与其它学科的学习劣势相反,由于他们学习第三种语言时对汉语水平的要求不那么高,他们在英语学习上体现一定优势,这使得他们在英语学习上加倍投于并取得较好成绩。积极的反馈有助于进一步调动他们对其它学科的学习动机并且发展他们积极乐观的学习和生活态度。文章认为,少数民族学生第三种语言学习如果处理得当有可能成其为提高他们学习信心和民族与个人自尊感的突破口。 关键词:维吾尔族教育;少数民族教育;外语教育;社会语言学;英语教育;新疆

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:23 March 2011
Date of first online publication:February 2011
Date first made open access:No date available

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