Chinese as a Mother Tongue in the Context of Global English Business Communication

Per Durst-Andersen*, Xia Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter introduces the Global English Business Communication Project and presents its data and analysis concerning Mandarin Chinese, British English, and Chinese English. It shows how aspects of ways of speaking, thinking, and hearing in the Chinese linguaculture are transferred to English as a lingua franca. The data presented include scenarios of solving problems, resolving conflicts, and expressing apology and thus give access to the participants’ view on communication, rhetoric, politeness, face, and societal logic. The chapter shows that the theory of communicative supertypes developed by Durst-Andersen (Linguistic Supertypes. A Cognitive-Semiotic Theory of Human Communication. De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin/New York, 2011), which draws on semiotic theory (Durst-Andersen, Cybernetics & Human Knowing 16:38–79, 2009); Durst-Andersen and Bentsen, Semiotica 238:1–35, 2021), could be a useful framework to account for the reasons why the various transferences take place in the way they do. The results of the project question the usefulness of English as a lingua franca, because what is called Global English is not a neutral language without cultural load, but different linguacultural varieties of English, where the semiotic direction from one’s mother tongue plays a crucial role when both producing and perceiving English speech.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Chinese Language Studies
EditorsZhengdao Ye
Number of pages39
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2021
ISBN (Electronic)9789811368448
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 24 July 2021


  • Lingua franca
  • Global English
  • Global English Business Communication
  • Chinese English
  • Pragmatics
  • Directive speech acts
  • Face
  • Societal logic
  • Apologetic expressions
  • Thanking expressions

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