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A Critical Discourse Analysis of Li Yang’s Crazy English: Perspectives On English Education In China

McTernan, Rachel (2013) A Critical Discourse Analysis of Li Yang’s Crazy English: Perspectives On English Education In China. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Li Yang is widely known throughout China and parts of Asia for his Crazy English program and nontraditional teaching methods. His goal is to help 300 million Chinese people speak English fluently. In addition to his mass teaching rallies he holds throughout China, he also has published an extensive amount of popular English language learning texts, audio guides and visual material. In this thesis, I examine Li Yang’s 2011 publication of his Standard American English Course. I analyze the text, first on a macro-level examining Li
Yang’s conceptualization of American English, then on a micro-level examining word, style and image choices. The continuing spread of English throughout the world has had profound effects on both local and the global communities. The way in which local communities deal with this phenomenon is varied and often very complex. The analysis of Li Yang’s text offers some insight into the adaptation of English into Chinese society. Through the use of Critical Discourse Analysis and Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of capital, the socio-historical content of this phenomenon and how elements from the past relate to the current situation, as well as various power relationships seen between the global and local and within the local are examined. In this thesis, I find that in China, the power of language goes far beyond being a tool for communication. It has permeated Chinese society and facilitates to widen the gap between the haves and have-nots

in society. In looking at Li Yang’s text, I also find that the uncovered power relationships also dovetail with powerful relationships of solidarity. In modern Chinese society, where so much is riding on one’s ability to master English, I argue that Li Yang’s Crazy English program operates as a form of Linguistic Welfare in which recipients are currently appeased and inequalities remain unaddressed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCarlitz, Katherinekcarlitz@pitt.eduKCARLITZ
Committee ChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee ChairDove,
Date: 10 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2013
Approval Date: 10 July 2013
Submission Date: 18 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 117
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: China Li Yang Crazy English English Education in China Critical Discourse Analysis Pierre Bourdieu
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2013 19:02
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:12

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