Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Impact of English Learning on National Identification of Mongolian English Majors' in Universities for Nationalities: A Case Study of Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Impact of English Learning on National Identification of Mongolian English Majors' in Universities for Nationalities: A Case Study of Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research investigated the national identification of Mongolian English majors, the effects of English learning on national identification and the reasons. The survey has showed that: Overall, mother-tongue identification of Mongolian English majors in Universities for Nationalities is relatively high, but it has dropped a lot compared with that in the past. Meanwhile, these students had a low recognition mainly in the social and cultural aspect, followed by the material and spiritual aspects; and this result relates to content of English teaching, learning motivation and learning time.

Key words: Mongolian English majors; English learning; National identification

INTRODUCTION

Since the foundation of New China, Chinese people have learned English for as long as half a century. As early as in 1956, English replaced Russian to become the only foreign language course in most high schools. Since then, English teaching has developed rapidly in China. At present, China has more than 400 million people learning English, which is about 1/3 of China's total population. Experts predict that in a few years, the number of English learners in China will be more than the total population of English speaking countries.

Gao holds that second language learners have dual identifications-national identification and foreign language identification (2003). The current large scale of English learners has worried many scholars: In the process of learning English, will Chinese students completely contemn or abandon traditional national culture and blindly adore and copy Western cultures? Scholars have various reactions on this. Professor Mao Han in Huaqiao University called on government to immediately halt the national frenzy of learning English, and let a handful of people to become professionals specializing in English. Professor Li Qingben in Beijing Language University and Professor Sun Youzhong in Beijing Foreign Language University believe that English frenzy won't westernize China as long as it doesn't touch the core values. Is Mao Han too pessimistic or are Sun and Li too optimistic? How do Chinese learners of English identify with their nationality? English frenzy needs to cool down? For these questions, this research took 150 Mongolian English majors in Inner Mongolia University of Nationalities as objects, investigated their national identification, the impacts of English learning on their national identification and the reasons for these impacts, in the hope to obtain enlightenment on English education for minorities in China.

1. LITERATURE REVIEW

1.1 National Identification

National identification is closely linked with cultural identity of community members. Hamers and Blanc (1989) consider complex cultural integration combined with individual personality constitutes a cultural identity. They stress that cultural identity is the result of individual socialization. Kramsch (1998), on the other hand, believes that cultural identity is the membership of a cultural group formed by government identification or the self- identification of the members. He stresses that a member has self-recognition and external recognition on the group culture. Cultural identity is both a member's cultural gene and attribution to a cultural group, and also a cultural passport and identity card to show the world "who we are". Although scholars differ on the definition of cultural identity, they believe that cultural identity is related with individuals' attitudes to a culture. It is believed that national identification is a general attitude on all areas about a person's nationality, including political identification, moral identification, artistic identification, historical identification and so on (Chen, 2008). National language identification is social members' recognition and emotion of their own national language (Gao, 2006). In this research, national identification specifically refers to recognition on Chinese language and Chinese culture of Chinese learners of English. …

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