Chinese-English CS in Online Discourse An Adaptation Model Study

By Todd Foster,2015-04-07 16:05
12 views 0
Chinese-English CS in Online Discourse An Adaptation Model Study

    Chinese-English CS in Online Discourse An

    Adaptation Model Study

     Abstract. Based on the linguistic Adaptation Theory of Jef Verschueren, the Adaptation Principle explains the reasons of CS occurrence in terms of linguistic reality, social conventions, and psychological motivations. The present thesis applies the Adaptation Model to the Chinese English CS of Chinese netizens in online discourse. Based on the corpus of Chinese English CS in online discourse, the present thesis analyzes the CS’s different forms, unique features and motivations of communications. l)

     In the above extract, two CSs occur. The first one, OVERDRESS, in the dictionary, it refers to “dress oneself more formally or elaborately than appropriate or desirable”. Here the writer of this post advises the interviewees to dress themselves formally. In Chinese, the nearest counterpart of the word “overdress” is “chuan zhuo jiang jiu”. It is self-

    evident that there is subtle difference between the word “overdress” itself and its Chinese translation. So the writer chooses to abandon the Chinese to make what he/she wants to express semantically as accurate as possible.

     4.3.2 The Adaptation to Social Conventions

     CS adapted to social conventions refers to those instances carried out for social and cultural reasons.

    Language, an important behavior of human communication, is of course influenced and shaped by social and cultural reasons. So when some sensitive topics that violate the social constraints are touched upon, bilinguals are used to adopting CS.

     First?sex and sex related topics have been taboos in public in Chinese culture. Some examples of this kind of Chinese--English CS in online discourse are given below:

     Second? some verbal abuse or insulting word is still seemed shameful. CS of this kind is also adapted to social conventions.

     Third, some direct criticism on the political affairs. CS of this kind is still considered as adapted to social conventions.

     4.3.3 The Adaptation to Psychological Motivations

     In the Adaptation Model, CS adapted to

    psychological motivations includes the CS except for the adaptation to the linguistic reality and the social conventions. For this type of CS results from communicator-internal reasons, according to Yu, it is named active adaptation. Psychological motivations in the present thesis mean the netizens’ intentions behind the performance of Chinese-English CS in online discourses. According to Verschueren, CS is “a favored strategy” and switching is one of the

    resources for speakers and addressees to generate the meaning of their social world, to negotiate mutual investment in the linguistic marketplace. It can be used to show affect and solidarity, or to mark and maintain power relationships.”(Verschueren, 1999:119).

    CS here is taken as a communicative strategy to achieve different communicative purposes. Convenience Seeking Strategy

     This particular kind of CS is executed mainly for the principle of economy. Some examples from the data collected are presented:

     Example 4

     Tiao cao le ma?Wo jue de ni hai shi chu lai ziji chuang ye ba , yao bu zai gong si ji shi sheng dao CEO ye mei shen me yi sihai shi gei bie ren da gong.

     ?From an email between the writer of the thesis and one of her friends?

     Here CEO, is definitely shorter and easier to input on keyboard for a netizen in online discourse. It will not take too much effort to search expression like C*O, with * stand for any capital letter ranging from A to Z and each C*O has its corresponding meaning. Emphasizing Strategy

     This particular kind of CS is executed mainly for the principle of leaving a strong impression on the addressees. Here are some examples:

     Example 5

     ----Mi tuan ma?Xuanxuan ma?ni jia mai zhe ge hao

    yong bo?

     ---- Xuanxuan ma: zhe ge a, bie mai?Wo jiu na zhe

    ge zuo toilet shang kan,ma tong ai,xiao de fa??from


     This extract of QQ chat is from a QQ group called Super Mummy, where all the members are local acquaintances and the daily topics are all about how to nurse babies. Here in the extract, Xuanxuan ma

    answers in switched codes to emphasize that this book does not worth other mummies’ buying. In this way, she achieves her special communicative purpose. Humor/Fun Creating Strategy

     This particular kind of CS is executed mainly for the purpose of humor and fun creating. Here is an example chosen from the data collected:

     Example 6

     Shang jie yi kan?e de ge shen na?zhen shi people

    mountain people sea a! (From QQ)

     This extract is written by a classmate of the writer of the thesis. It is not likely for the classmate to make error in such English expression, in that she is also an English major. She expresses “ren shan ren hai” in English “people mountain people sea” to achieve some humorous atmosphere.

     For human’s inner side is too complicated to probe in easily, the psychological motivations definitely are not as apparent as linguistic reality and social conventions. Meanwhile, several motivations can work at the same time during CS process. Thus a single CS process can be spontaneously triggered by more than one motivation together.

     5. Conclusion

     In this thesis, the writer used Yu Guodong’s Adaptation Model, which is considered to be a development of Verschueren’s Linguistic Adaptation

    Theory, as the theoretical foundation to expound the Chinese English code-switching in online discourse. Here, the limitations of the present study and some

    suggestions for future study will be given. 5.1 Limitations of the Present Study

     Considering the whole process of the study, several limitations exist:

     (1)The first limitation concerns with the data collection. It is impossible to cover all the data on the Internet. Owing to the limited scope of data, the examples of CS in online discourse may not be revealing enough, thus the findings might be weak in its universality and applicability.

     (2) The second limitation concerns with the form of online discourse. The present study only spares no effort to investigate the text-based form instead of voice-related modes of online discourse.

     5.2 Suggestions for Future Study

     It should be noted that this thesis, focusing on the linguistic adaptation of Chinese-English CS, is merely a preliminary investigation of CS behavior in Internet language from the pragmatic perspective. Here some suggestions are given to further research:

     (1)This thesis confines the CS study in online discourse in the written form, it could be better if the writer had collected and analyzed enough data in spoken form of online discourse.

     (2)The Linguistic adaptation Theory and the Adaptation Model are comprehensive and systematic in Chinese English CS study. Future research may apply these two powerful weapons in studying the CS between language or language varieties other than Chinese and English.

     The heading should be treated as a 3rd level heading and should not be assigned a number.


     1. Appeal, R. & Muysken, P. Language Contact and Bilingualism [M]. London: Edward Arnold, 1987

     2. Auer, P. Bilingual Conversation [M]. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1984

     3. Auer, P. Code-switching in Conversation: Language?Interaction and Identity [C].

    London:Routledge, 1998.

     4. Azuma, S. Meaning and Form in Code-switching [A]. In Rodolfo Jacobson (eds.). Codeswitching Worldwide [C]. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1998.

     5. Blackmore, S. The Meme Machine [M]. London: Oxford University Press, 1999.

     6. Clyne, M. Community Languages: The Australian Experience [M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

     7. David, C. Language and the Internet [M]. Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 2001.

     8. Gafaranga, J. & Torras, M.C. Interactional Otherness, Toward a Redefinition of Code-switching: Cross-Linguistic Studies of Language Behavior [M]. Kingston Press: London. 2002:1-22.

     9. Giles, H & St. Clair, R. Language and Social Psychology [C].Oxford: OUP, 1979 10. Gumperz, J.J. Discourse Strategies [M]. Cambridge, New York, New Rochelle, Melbourne, and Sydney: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

     11. Herring,S.C. Digital Media [A].In P. Hogan (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences [M]. Cambridge University Press. 2008.

     12. Herring, S.C. Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives [A]. Amsterdam, John Benjamins.1996.13. Herring, S.C. Web Content Analysis: Expanding the Paradigm[A]. In J. Hunsinger, M. Allen, & L. Klastrup (eds.), The International Handbook of Internet Research [M]. Springer Verlag. 2008.

     14. Hoffman, C. An introduction to Bilingualism [M]. Lon & New York: Longman Group UK Ltd. 1991.

     15. Jacobson, R. The Social Implications of Intra-sentential Code-switching [A]. In Amastate, Joe-Lucia Ellias-Oliverres (eds.),Spanish in the United States: Sociolinguistic Aspect. Cambridge:CUP, 1977:193.

     16. Li, David. Issues in Bilingualism and Biculturalism: A Hong Kong Case Study [M]. New York: Peter Lang, 1996.

     17. Li, W. They ‘Why’and ‘How’ Questions in the Analysis of Conversational Code-switching. In Auer, P. (eds.), Code-switching in Conversation: Language, Interaction and Identity. London and New York: Routledge. 1998.

     18. Muysken, P. Code-switching and Grammatical Theory [A

     ]. In Milroy, L. & Muysken, P. (eds.). One Speaker Two Languages: Cross-disciplinary on Code-switching [M]. New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

     19. Muysken, P. Bilingual Speech: A Typology of Code-Mixing [M].London: Cambridge University, Press, 2000.

     20. Poplack, S. Sometimes I’ll Start a Sentence in English Y Termino En Espanol: toward a Typology of Code-switching [J]. Linguistics, 18, 1980:581-618.

     21. Poplack, S. Constrasting Patterns of Code-switching in Two Communities [A]. In E. Warde, B. Norderg, L.Steensland and M. Thelander (eds). Aspects of Bilingualism: Proceedings from the Fourth Nordic Symposium on Bilingualism [C]. 1987:51-76.

     22. Poplack, S. Distinguishing Language Contact Phenomena: Evidence from Finnish-English Bilingualism [J]. World Englishes, 8, 1990:31-45.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email