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Student Activities

Sundays at 7pm is the English corner. A foreign teacher is invited to speak to us on a topic of their choosing.

It’s a place where we can develop our English skills. Also, each year, the English Students Association holds the English speaking contest.

To give you a taste of what it is all about, a student has written about one such English corner (titled 'Chinese English' below).

Chinese English

By Zhang Lixin

Do you speak Putonghua? When asked this question, most Chinese will instantly answer with an innocent expression on their face, “Why, of course I do”. However, is the Putonghua you speak the standard Putonghua which is also called Mandarin in the real sense? At the English corner held at 7 o’clock this Sunday, Trey revealed to us these interesting yet thought—provoking things hidden behind such language phenomenon.

Trey began his lecture with some interesting stories he experienced in China. He had been to several places in China, and at each place he went, he found that people spoke in different ways with the influence of their accent. What’s interesting is that despite the difference, they all claimed that what they spoke was Putonghua. Then he further explained that it was not only with Chinese, but English, for example, was the same. We have American English, British English, and Indian English and so on. Due to the difference of their cultural background, the 'English' they speak has their own features and, he thus concluded, there is no such thing as standard English just as there is no standard Putonghua. So he encouraged us to let go the fear of the way we speak English is not good or not standard, and speak more in English whenever possible.

In fact, language itself is far more than a tool for communication; it also has many other functions. For example, the process of the evolution of one language is also a reflection of the history of one nation; the way people use their language can tell us one’s social class, personality, etc. Nowadays, some people put forward the theory of linguistic imperialism; it deals with the influence of language.   

After the lecture, we were divided into several groups and had a free discussion.  “I tend to take the language for granted, after this lecture I suddenly find that there are so many interesting and important things in it. I like this lecture”, one student said after the English corner.

So if you want to improve your English ability while enriching your storage of knowledge, then come to our English corner at 7:00 pm each Sunday, be there or be square!