International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Is “poor” English in linguistic landscape useful for EFL teaching and learning? Perspectives of EFL teachers in China

Numerous studies in linguistic landscape (LL) have shown that the languages displayed on signs in city space can provide a rich semiotic resource enabling language learning in “real‐life” situations. However, in a context where LL is often criticized for profusion of errors or substandard expressions, it is doubtful whether the LL still holds pedagogical appeals for language teachers. Taking English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers in China as research subjects, this study investigates their beliefs about the pedagogical values, if any, of English LL in Eastern China's city and school spaces. The survey and interview results reveal that EFL teachers acknowledge the educational roles of environmental English despite the discouraging voices in the circulating discourses. It is also found that due to the prevailing standard language ideology, the teachers have low tolerance for Chinese English on public signs. Moreover, these teachers show eagerness to turn from passive consumers to active creators of English schoolscape in order to create a learners‐customized English environment. These findings reaffirm the proposal that the LL in EFL context can function as a resource as well as an instrument for EFL teaching and learning. However, pedagogical application models for LL need to be developed in order to expand its educational contributions

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