New models, old patterns? The implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for Chinese

  • Helena Casas-Tost, Sara Rovira-Esteva
  • Linguistics and Education, September 2014, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.linged.2014.07.001

Dangers of applying the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to Chinese

What is it about?

We question the application of European models to Chinese and the assumption that those models are universally valid, requiring no adjustments. We believe that this assumption reproduces old ways of approaching the Other, based on ethnocentrism, and perpetuates old myths and an orientalist discourse about the Chinese language. We critically analyse current adaptations of the CEFR to Chinese in Spain and suggest alternatives to the prevailing trends in scholarship on Chinese linguistics.

Why is it important?

Originally, the CEFR was only intended for European languages but eventually it has been applied to all the languages taught in Europe. Since Chinese is very different from European languages in terms of script, grammar, non-verbal language, etc. it is crucial to take its characteristics into account when applying European models to its linguistic description and teaching.


Dr Sara Rovira-Esteva
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

This paper is orginal in terms both of object of study as well as the methodology used, since it adopts a critical discourse analysis to academic texts on linguistics, which is not very common.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sara Rovira-Esteva and Helena Casas-Tost