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A Study of SMEs’ Use of English Language in China

Author: ZhangZuo
Tutor: MoZaiShu
School: Hunan University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: SMEs Language Planning Language Management Language Use
CLC: H310.1
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 316
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Abstract


Marco Crugnola(2005)had an empirical study on the use of English as the language of communication in Swiss corporations using questionnaires and also the economic value of English in business settings; However, few studies were found relating to the use of English in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. According to statistics in 2005, the registered small and medium-sized enterprises in China accounts for 99.6% of the total enterprise numbers, enrolling 75% of China’s labors, taking up 70% of the country’s total foreign trade, 50% of the state tax income and providing nearly 60% of China’s gross domestic product. Since the importance of SMEs in China, the trend of China’s integration into the world economy, and the development of English-dominated foreign trade, there is an urgent demand to have a thorough study on SMEs’use of English in China.This thesis focuses on an exploratory investigation into the use of English within SMEs in China. Through exploring language management theory, a new perspective in language planning, the thesis tends to identify how English is used and perceived in SMEs in relation to four areas: the functional use of corporate English language within businesses, personal language use situation and the language proficiency of the employees, problems in using and issues preventing their use, the corporate language management policies and attitudes.New perspective of Language Management is corporate language management, viewing language as communicative factors in business settings, and finding the solutions to settle language problems. Based on the above theories with analysis of actual situation in China’s SMEs, the questionnaires are designed and sent through e-mail. Totally 75 were returned and 70 were valid. 2 face-to-face interviews were carried out afterwards as supplementary. By analyzing the statistics of both individual and corporate English use, the findings indicated that most employees and managerial personnel had realized the significance as well as economic returns to English language in business, and the importance of effective communication by correct use of English; however, there were some problems in misuses of English that lead to inefficient communication; due to the fact, a sufficient language using policy made by the corporate managerial level is a necessity to solve these problems.The Thesis still has some problems. Firstly, Language planning and language management theory are new research fields and subjects in sociolinguistics, and some research methods in the thesis concerning languages are to be improved; the analyzing method of statistics should be revised later on. Secondly, there are some limitations in data collection.

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Non-standard English
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