Trilingualism in education in China: Models and challenges

Anwei FENG, Robert Damian ADAMSON

Research output: Book/ReportBooks


This book examines language policies and practices in schools in regions of China populated by indigenous minority groups. It focuses on models of trilingual education, i.e. education in the home language, Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese, the national language), and English (the main foreign language). Special attention is given to the study of the vitality of the minority home language in each region and issues relating to and the effects of the teaching and learning of the minority home language on minority students’ acquisition of Mandarin Chinese and English and on their school performance in general. The book also examines the case of Cantonese in Guangdong, where the local Chinese ‘dialect’ is strong but distant from the mainstream language, Putonghua. It takes a new approach to researching sociolinguistic phenomena, and presents a new methodology that emerged from studies of bi/trilingualism in European societies and was then tailored to the trilingual context in China. The methodology encompasses policy analysis and community language profiles, as well as school-based fieldwork, and provides rich data that facilitate multilevel analysis of policy-in-context. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)9789401793520
ISBN (Print)9789401793513
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Feng, A., & Adamson, B. (2015). Trilingualism in education in China: Models and challenges. Dordrecht: Springer.


  • Education in Tibetan Schools in Qinghai
  • Indigenous education
  • L2 Mandarin and Chinese
  • Language education in Tibetan Schools in Qinghai
  • Language policy
  • Minority home language
  • Mongolian Nationality Schools
  • Trilingual education in China
  • Trilingual Education in China’s Korean Communities
  • Trilingualism among the Dong Minority in Guizhou Province


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