The English Language as a Medium and Its Impact on Contemporary Chinese Culture: A Speculative Critique | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717


In this article, I use Marshall McLuhan's corpus as a major source of inspiration. I see the English language as a potent configuring force in contemporary Chinese culture and problematize the impact of the language by looking into its specificity as a "medium." I argue that English embodies the alphabet effect in the Chinese cultural context. It is a "hot" medium, a site of power struggles, a vehicle of Western normativities, and the gateway toward a different reality. The goal of this article is to help users of English in China develop a heightened awareness of what the language does regardless of what it conveys. I invite those awash in the "English rush" to hold a comic, sophisticated attitude toward English, and to use English with an eye for "minorizing" it from within.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): alphabet; China; English; language; Western influence
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