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EAST ASIAN ENGLISH

EAST ASIAN ENGLISH. The English language as used in CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, Macao, KOREA, and Taiwan. Its functions vary from place to place and in no country is there a significant indigenous community of English speakers. Contacts from the 17c led to a number of pidgins, particularly Pidgin English used by and with British traders on the China coast and Bamboo English used by and with US soldiers in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Such forms are now virtually extinct, having given way to a range of English usually learned, in part at least, in school. Because of a tradition of teaching English formally through grammar, translation, and literature, spoken usage is often stilted and bookish. In recent decades, EFL techniques have made an impact, but differences in language type and in writing systems currently impede progress. All varieties look elsewhere for their model of English (for example to BrE in Hong Kong and to AmE in South Korea and Taiwan) and display in varying degrees the influence of mother tongues, as for example difficulty with /l, r/ among speakers of Chinese and Japanese. Nonetheless, it is likely that in the next decade there will be an ever-increasing number of people (perhaps 300 m) with varying competence in English, because of its position as an international medium. Borrowing from English into local languages is high. See JAPANESE PIDGIN ENGLISH, JAPLISH.

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