Reflection on Chinese culture in English
The first identifiable change in Jiajia's attitude was brought about by a reflection on Chinese culture in relation to English and foregrounded her selfdiscovery of the limitation of native English for Chinese speakers' cultural expression. While her adherence to native English was mainly expressed on the abstract level earlier (see extract 1), Jiajia shaped her argument for the first time in response to the moderator's invitation to comment on examples of Chinese speakers' English listed in the hand-out (see extract 2).
(1) Jiajia: [...] possibly, different cultures, different nations, even those English speaking nations, would have their own things to be added to English when they have contacted English for some time, so something, some usage should be accepted, like some of the examples listed here [in the hand-out], but for other variations, you'd better avoid. An example just came up to me. That is long [Chinese Pinyin, Ж, dragon], we had once discussed the translation of this matter [on our translation course], an important symbol in Chinese culture. If you translate this matter into dragon, I personally can't agree. Many people have suggested using long, Chinese pinyin of this matter, because dragon and long have different cultural connotations. Long is auspicious in Chinese culture and relates to Chinese divinity, but dragon represents evil in foreigners' eyes. I think examples like this are acceptable, although they don't conform to native English. But if everybody [i.e., every Chinese speaker] uses English in the way, say, extra vowel at the end of the word, or any unclear English, the effects of communication will be hindered. If they [i.e., 'errors'] don't convey your national culture, don't help your cultural expression, they should be avoided.
In this extract, Jiajia engaged with given linguistic data on the handout and recalled her previous exchange with her teacher and peers regarding the comparison of Chinese and native speakers' ways of referring to Chinese culture matters. She categorised given examples as culturally relevant or irrelevant in considering the acceptability of instances of Chinese speakers' English. The attitudinal change emerging in her self-exploration seemed to suggest the benefits of concrete language data in stimulating reflection on non-conformity to native English in terms of its value for Chinese speakers to express Chinese culture.
However, Jiajia's consideration of the appropriateness of native English for Chinese speakers was limited to lexical aspects of English, as exemplified by long (^, dragon). Other aspects of English, including accent, which have been closely associated with identity by sociolinguists (e.g., Jenkins 2007; Labov 1966; Lippi-Green 1994), were considered by Jiajia as irrelevant to culture and identity. This knowledge gap suggests some need for expert intervention or support.