International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

English in China: Lexical Variations in Cross-Cultural Communication
María Luisa Carrió Pastor, Rut Muñiz Calderón

The number of non-native speakers of English outnumbers native speakers provided that worldwide enterprises use English for international communication. Electronic communication has also increased the use of English as an international language; as a consequence, it is used by speakers with different linguistic backgrounds. The different linguistic background of authors produces differences or variations in language use. In this paper we analyse business e-mails written by agents from China and Hong Kong who work in an exporting company in Spain and speak English a second or a foreign language. Our main aim is to analyze the possible variations due to the mother tongue and the socio-cultural context, classifying the lexical variation found in business English used as a global working language by non-native speakers. We intended to determine the causes of variation and their influence on communication. We analyzed and contrasted sixty e-mails written by English speakers from China and Hong Kong. We classified the occurrences in categories depending on the lexical characteristics of variation. Finally, we concluded that there are variations in the English language when used by Chinese and Hong Kong speakers and we determined the causes of variation, providing several examples.

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