ENGLISH as the world's lingua franca has become a focus of attention for many scholars. Since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), the motivation to learn English has dramatically increased. This paper questions the need for English in China to conform to any of the existing standard varieties, arguing that this objective is both undesirable and virtually unattainable, especially in respect to pronunciation, and that Chinese learners should therefore be learning ‘China English’. In an investigation with over 1,200 Chinese students at her university, the writer discovered that the vast majority had never heard of either World English or China English, believing instead that proficiency in standard American or British English should be their goal. She proposes both a reorientation of English language learning in China and a radical revision of the materials used there for both practical and cultural reasons.
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