Sunday, October 16, 2011


Besides teaching English as a Second Language, I have a long-term interest in other Englishes. Chinglish, of course, is the word we sometimes humorously use to refer to the kind of English spoken by Chinese who are non-native speakers of English. This post, however, is partly about "Chinglish", the new play that was performed this summer in Chicago and is moving on to New York and (I hope, eventually) the West Coast.

Why did Davide Henry Hwang write the play "Chinglish"? It was in response to his experiences traveling in China. Despite his Asian roots, he discovered, as I have when I go to Japan, that our American upbringing compels us to see connections and disconnections between cultures and people's behavior and language. If we all speak in English, are we actually communicating?

First, I will give you a link to a funny YouTube video which streams a lot of Chinglish signs (some of which you may have seen at with a nonsensical-sounding song. Next, you can play the game linked to the Broadway play, "Chinglish", to get you in the spirit of the performance. The answers are here if you want to skip the game. Finally, these are some links to a description of the play: interviews with the cast and the playwright (1, 2) and a review in the Chicago Sun Times. Cheers to Davide Henry Hwang and success to Chinglish!

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