What's in a name? Chinese learners and the practice of adopting 'English' names

Rachel Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the widespread practice of Chinese learners choosing (and sometimes refusing) to adopt English and Anglicised names. Data collected from questionnaires and interviews with both students and teachers are analysed in order to arrive at an understanding of why such a practice has arisen and continues to be perpetuated throughout institutions of higher education. Evidence will suggest that this practice cannot be divorced from Chinese learners' perceptions of themselves, their own culture, and their experience of learning English. It will highlight strategies of both compliance and resistance employed by students when they adopt and exchange names: strategies which say much about their attitudes to British culture and learning English in particular. At the same time, teachers' attitudes to students' names will be seen to highlight, at a basic level, some of the difficulties encountered when East meets West in the classroom. The paper concludes by suggesting that China's unique relationship to ELT is fundamental to Chinese learners adopting 'English' names.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'What's in a name? Chinese learners and the practice of adopting 'English' names'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this