Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.1, 164-169
Published Online February 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciR e s .
The Impact of the American English Learning upon Chinese
College Students’ Ideology
Xiao Yue
Department of English , Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, Ch ina
Received December 20th, 2011; revised January 15th, 2012; accepted January 31st, 2012
In recent decades, many researchers have devoted themselves to the study of the impact of American ide-
ology upon Chinese college students. However, few of researches have been made in this area in view of
language attrition. This thesis mainly analyses the transfer of Chinese college students’ ideology caused
by the language attrition during the process of American English learning, such as the regression of Chi-
nese language in different degrees and the decline of self-identities in Chinese culture. The transfer of
ideology is manifested in the aspects of Chinese college students’ ideas, values, self-identities, etc. This
thesis also provides evidence for the current situations that Chinese college students’ ideology was trans-
ferred by the first language attrition. Language attrition is a method different from other traditional re-
search methods, and it is a whole new point of view at a cultural level.
Keywords: Language Attrition; Ideology; English Learning
The globalization of world economy has come into being
since the World War II, emerging its primary form in the 80s of
the 20th century, accelerating its development in the 90s,
blooming at the beginning of the 21st century, and it strongly
promotes the transmission of the Western ideology. In this the-
sis, the Western ideology particularly refers to the American
ideology, because as a matter of fact, America has been the
superpower since the World War II and the center of many
areas, including politics, economy and culture. Therefore, Ame-
rican ideology plays a dominant or leading role in the Western
ideology. In this sense, the transmission of Western ideology is
basically the transmission of American ideology. Moreover,
language is known as the most important carrier of culture, so
the learning of American English would certainly influence the
Chinese college students’ ideology, especially considering the
fact that the fever of American English Learning reached a
climax during the first decade of the 21st century, and the value
of mastering American English has risen to an unprecedented
level in China nowadays. The degree of undergraduates’ Eng-
lish standard has become a significant ruler in the selection
process of their job hunting or further study.
Many researchers have devote their efforts into the study of
the phenomenon described above; however, only a limited
number of studies have been put into the newly emerging sub-
field of applied linguistics: Language attrition. Since in previ-
ous studies on first language attrition little attention has been
paid to the in-between position of Chinese college stu de n ts , t h ei r
senses of belonging or not-belonging and their attempts (or not)
to re-create their self in a second language -environment, my
research deals with the issue: the link between the fi rst lan guag e
attrition and the transfer of ideology, concentrating in particular
on Chinese college students. This thesis aims at analyzing the
theory of Language attrition with reference to Chinese college
students’ psychological and philosophical phenomena, such as
idea, belief, conception, psychology, cultural value and self-
Literature Review
Definition of Language Attrition
Language attrition is the loss of a first or second language or
a portion of that language by individuals. Speaker s who routinely
use more than one language may not use either of their lan-
guages in ways which are exactly like that of a monolingual
speaker. In sequential bilingualism, for example, there is often
evidence of interference from the first language (L1) in the
second la nguage (L 2) system or the othe r way aroun d. D e sc r i b i ng
these interference phenomena and accounting for them on the
basis of theoretical models of linguistic knowledge has long
been a focus of interest of Applied Linguistics. More recently,
research has started to investigate linguistic traffic which goes
the other way: “The second language interferences and contact
with the first language. Such phenomena are probably experi-
enced to some extent by all bilinguals. They are, however, most
evident among speakers for whom a language other than the L1
has started to play an important, if not dominant, role in every-
day life” (Schmid & Köpke, 2007).
The Introduction and Development of Language
Academic Study Origins
Only in the past few decades has the study of language attrition
become a sub- field of linguis tics beginning with a 1980 conference
at the University of Pennsylvania titled “Loss of La nguage Skills”
(Lambert and Freed, 1982). The aim of this conference was to
discuss areas of second language attrition and the possible areas
of future research in first language loss. The conference re-
vealed that attrition is a wide topic covering different types of
language loss and that there are many possible reasons for the
loss. A related phenomenon is the loss of language due to con-
tact with other, more dominant languages, possibly leading to
language death.
This field gained new momentum with two conferences held
in Amsterdam in 2002 and 2005, as well as a series of graduate
workshops and panels at international conferences such as the
International Symposium on Bilingualism held between 2007
and 2009, the annual conferences of the European Second
Language Association and the AILA (Association Inte rnati onal e
de Linguistique Applique) World Congress in 2008. The out-
comes of some of these meetings have been published in edited
volumes (Schmid et al., 2004; Köpke et al., 2007) and special
issues of journals, such as the Journal of Neurolinguistics, the
International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingualism: Lan-
guage and Cognition.
Language attrition research involves many fields, suck as
psychology, neurology, sociology, linguistics and so on; the
research targets also vary greatly, for examples, pathological
and non pathological language attrition. Because of the differ-
ences of the researchers’ start points, their focuses, purposes
and the outcomes are different. The early researches on the
definition of the language attrition lack consistency. Therefore
various related terms emerged, such as language loss, language
atrophy, language aphasia, etc in pathological researches; lan-
guage change, language shift, language death, language obso-
lescence, etc in sociological researches; language forgetting,
language regression, language erosion, language deterioration,
language decay, language disintegration, language weakening,
language mutation, etc in psycholinguistic researches. The lan-
guage attrition in this thesis mainly refers to “Language Forget-
ting”, a theory put forward by Hansen in 2001. He explains the
research achievement of the recent five years, including Sav-
ings Paradigm Hypothesis, Relearning Hypothesis. Schmid sys-
tematically appraises the language attrition research from the
sociolinguistics. Hypothesis includes: Regression Hypothesis,
Retrieval Failure Hypothesis, Savings Paradigm Hypothesis,
Relearning Hypothesis, Interlanguage Hypothesis, Universal
Grammar Hypothesis and other hypotheses (Yang Lianrui,
2009). This thesis mainly focuses on the regression hypothesis
which means “last thing learned, first thing lost”.
The regression hypothesis, first formulated by Roman Ja-
kobson in 1941, can be traced back to the origin of psychology
and psychoanalysis. In General, it states what was learned first
will be remained last, both in “normal” processes of forgetting
and in pathological conditions such as aphasia or dementia
(Weltens, 1986). As a template for language forgetting, the
regression hypothesis has long seemed to be an attractive para-
digm. However, as Keijzer points out, “Regression is not in
itself a theoretical or explanatory framework. Both order of
acquisition and order of attrition need to be put into the larger
context of linguistic theory in order to gain explanatory ade-
quacy.” However, there is also considerable interaction be-
tween the first and second language, so a straightforward “re-
gression pattern” cannot be observed. Citing the studies on the
regression hypothesis that have been done, Yukawa says that
the results have been contradictory. It is possible that attrition is
a situation depending on a number of variables such as age,
proficiency, literacy, the similarities between the first language
and the second language, and whether the first language or the
second language is attriting.
Background of American English Learning in China
Establishment of American English
Isolationism turned out to be worked very well for America
during the First World War. The old European colonial empires
gradually fell apart and their power all over the world was
greatly weakened by the wars. However, America escaped the
First World War, saving its energy and money for developing
while others suffering from the trauma left behind the war, and
America gained its hegemony in the world after the Second
World War and the Cold War. Ame rica was the super power of
the world at that time, its influence spread in all areas, includ-
ing economy, culture, education, military and politics, espe-
cially in culture. In order to do business with America, many
old European countries who were proud of their own languages,
like France, started to learn American English. Then America
was the country who owned the best education and the best
technology became the centre of the world in all respects.
Therefore, to learn its language seems to be the only way to get
access to the top of the world.
Now, American English is still the common language (a
language spoken and understood by all or most of the world's
population) of our global village. With the developing of the
high-speed network, the interwoven communication of interna-
tional economy and culture, American English continue to re-
inforce its dominating role. Statistics proves that over 60 coun-
tries use English as their lingua franca (a language systemati-
cally used to make communication possible between people not
sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third lan-
guage, distinct from both mother tongues.) or official language
(a language that is given a special legal status in a particular
country, state, or other jurisdiction), which is nearly 25% of the
total numbers of the countries or districts of the world. The
number of people who can use English in different forms was
approaching 1.6 billion, that’s one third of the global popula-
tion. Over 80% of the internet pages are written in English.
Early in the 80s of the 20th century, three-quarters of the global
mails, posts, faxes were written in English, and 50% of the
science and technology magazines were published in English.
In internet technology, 80% of the data was stored in English.
In the United Nations, the world’s largest organization, English
has the highest usage. 80% of the original paper work is done in
English, while only 20% is done in the other 5 languages:
French, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic (Zhu Weilie,
2002). The value of English is far more important than the other
6 thousand languages existing in the world today, and the cul-
ture attached to the wide-spreading English is significant.
Importance of American English in China
Since the founding of New China, more and more people
have begun to learn foreign languages. After the restoration of
the college entrance examination in 1977 and the “Reform and
opening up” policy in 1978, English learning became the re-
quired subject in Chinese education. “At present, Chinese gov-
ernment is sparing no effort to promote foreign languages in
English-based education, teaching and research, regarding Eng-
lish as an important link for the development of comprehensive
education, an important aspect of improving the overall quality.
English teaching in our country is an important aspect of mod-
ernization, a key to reformation and opening, one of the most
important safeguards to bring about a great rejuvenation of the
Chinese nation ultimately” (Lin Caidan, 2009).
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 165
In China, American English teaching permeates to all levels
of education, from primary students up to doctoral student.
Now, even kindergartens provide American English programs.
Parents who are afraid of their children to get behind other
children are eager to send their children to study English as
early as possible. English training classes like: New Oriental
Education & Technology Group, Crazy English, New Concept
English, Follow Me, etc., have sprung up like mushrooms. CET
4 (College English Test Band 4) and CET 6 (College English
Test Band 6) are the most important degree tests of Chinese
college students’ English proficiency. Also, like TEM 4 (Test
for English Major-Degree 4), TEM 8 (Test for English Ma-
jor-Degree 8), TOEFL (The Test of English as a Foreign Lan-
guage), IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
are designed for students to testify their ability to use English
and give them certifications. An undergraduate Student will not
graduate without passing CET 4. An English-majored student
will not graduate without passing TEM 4. Most of the compa-
nies, institutions, organizations consider English ability as one
of the primary qualities when they choose their employees. For
Job applying, English plays a very important part in job analy-
sis and job promoting. It is no exaggeration to say that to learn
English well is the key to getting close to a bright future for a
college student. Social environment greatly influence the learn-
ers’ motivation. The theory of language socialization regards
the study of language, culture and social behavior as a continu-
ous blending process.
Modern American Ideology
Definition of Ideology
So far, it’s hard to see any short adequate definition of ide-
ology given by scholars. It’s not because their intelligence is
not qualified to have this job done, but the term “ideology” has
a wide range of complex meanings. It is not a very wise idea to
try to concentrate the whole rich meanings into one single
comprehensive definition even if it is possible, because it would
simply destroy the connotation of the word.
To indicate the variety of it’s meaning, Terry Eagleton lists
at random some definitions of ideology currently in circulation:
1) The process of production of meanings, signs and values
in social life.
2) A body of ideas characteristic of a particular social group
or class.
3) Ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power.
4) False ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political
5) Systematically distorted communication.
6) That which offers a position for a subject.
7) Forms of thought motivated by social interests.
8) Identity thinking.
9) Socially necessary illusion.
10) The conjuncture of discourse and power.
11) The medium in which conscious social actors make sense
of their word.
12) Action-oriented sets of beliefs.
13) The confusion of linguistic reality.
14) Semiotic closure.
15) The indispensable medium in which individuals live out
their relations to a social structure.
16) The process whereby social life is converted to a natural
The word “Ideology”, one might say, is woven of a whole
tissue of different conceptual strands; it is traced through by
divergent histories, and it is probably more important to assess
what is valuable or can be discarded in each of these lineages
than to merge forcibly into some Grand Global Theory (Eagleton,
1991: p. 1).
The term ideology has a wide rang of historical meanings, all
the way from the unworkably broad sense of the social deter-
mination of thought to the suspiciously narrow idea of the de-
ployment of false ideas in the direct interests of a ruling class.
Very often, it refers to the ways in which signs, meanings and
values help to reproduce a dominant social power; but it can
also denote any significant conjuncture between discourse and
political interests (Eagleton, 1991: p. 221).
The term “ideology” consists of a set of ideas, such as pur-
pose, thought, and expectation. It’s a comprehensive vision, a
system of abstract thoughts attached to public matters that can
influence the society and the people inside the society. With its
definition, it’s easier to understand the American ideology bet-
American Ideology
American Ideology is such an abstract and complicated term;
this thesis would concentrate on some aspects of the American
Civil Society and Individualism
America is a highly civilized society which consist of all
kinds of institutions and groups that are mostly non-govern
mental organizations, such as academia, charities, sports clubs,
trade unions, environmental groups, private voluntary organiza-
tions, men’s groups, women's groups, religious organizations,
etc. All of these are the foundation of a highly functioning soci-
ety. “Fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death, but in
hell there is no brotherhood but everyone for himself.” The
leader of the Peasants’ Revolt John Ball states these words.
People, have different culture backgrounds but share the same
interests, purpose and value, get together help the government
to make the society better and warmer. Their contribution to the
society is more like a supplement of the government. In Amer-
ica, the most important part of education is to teach students to
offer voluntary help. Most of the American universities con-
sider the experience of doing voluntary works as one of most
important qualities of university students. A system i n Ameri ca
has been already formed for students to do voluntary activities
including taking care of the elder, cleaning the beaches, talking
to the people in the addiction treatment centre, and helping the
homeless people and so on. The purpose of the voluntary is to
shorten the distance between people and creates a more har-
mony atmosphere of the society. To build up a civil society is
also an access to the success of social democracy.
Individualism is a conception different from liberalism; it
focuses on the quality of being an individual, more specific, the
characteristic and style of life. Individualists pursue personal
goals, desires, independence and self-reliance. There is always
an external interference between one’s own interests and soci-
ety, family or any other group or institution. An individualist
would seek for his or her own interest or at least demand the
right to serve his or her own interests, without taking the inter-
ests of society into consideration. However an individualist is
not the same as an egoist. The individualist does not lend cre-
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
dence to any philosophy that requires the sacrifice of the self-
interest of the individual for any higher social causes.
Equality and Natural Selection
In the very beginning of opening of the United States Decla-
ration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson states that: “We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of
Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are insti-
tuted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed.” Since the founding of America in 1776, this
nation has been the biggest immigration country in the world.
Nearly all kinds of people with different nationalities gathered
in here: White people, Black people, and Yellow people; Span-
ish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, etc. However, differ-
ence doesn’t cause much conflict and America is still a very
strong country due to the idea equality. This idea is ensured by
law and enhanced by man. Margie between people of different
skin, from different countries it is now a very common thing.
Women in America have won the right to vote since 1920, and
now they’re having more and more freedom and power than
before. On the whole, America is still a country which demon-
strates great equality.
On the other side of the picture, American is also greatly in-
fluenced by the theories of Darwinism, which became wide
spread in the late nineteenth century. The core spirit of Darwin-
ism is the “Social Darwinism” or the “Natural Selection”. So-
cial Darwinism is a contradictory term that raises the ideas of
survival of the fittest. Social Darwinism commonly refers to the
struggle for existence being between national or racial groups
used to justify social policies, and the most observably part of
such views emphasized competition between individuals in free
market capitalism. In sociology it has been defined as a theory
of social evolution which asserts that “There are underlying,
and largely irresistible, forces acting in societies which are like
the natural forces that operate in animal and plant communities.
One can therefore formulate social laws similar to natural ones.
These social forces are of such a kind as to produce evolution-
ary progress through the natural conflicts between social groups.
The best-adapted and most successful social groups survive
these conflicts, raising the evolutionary level of society gener-
ally, or in short, the survival of the fittest” (Nicholas Aber-
crombie, 2000: p. 51). Meritocracy is another form of the mani-
festation of Social Darwinism. Though meritocracy basically
means a government’s system wherein individual’s ability or
value was judged according to their “merits”, or in general,
intelligence, credentials and education, determined through
examinations or other forms of evaluations, but the word itself
still belongs to ideology. Critics believe that meritocracy poten-
tially lacks in clarity and therefore open to misuse, because
“merit” itself is a highly subjective term. The common phe-
nomenon in American is that children born in upper class fami-
lies get the best recourses of education; they go to private
schools which have the highest reputations and, of course, pay
the highest tuitions which the ordinary people couldn’t afford
even if they raise a loan. In private schools, children from upper
class families learn from best teachers, use the best teaching
facilities, and get more opportunities from Ivy League Schools
(They are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Yale, Harvard, Pennsyl-
vania, Princeton, and Dartmouth). After graduation they enter
the best companies, organizations, institutions and become the
main dominator of the society following their forefather’s foot-
steps. On the contrary, children from public schools are not so
lucky. With out enough money, they will not receive better
education, as a result they will end up with less advantaged
universities, less advantaged jobs, and following the footsteps
of their forefathers will become the employees of the children
form upper class families and make money for them. Meritoc-
racy may train talents for the society, but it will also cause a
vicious spiral for the society, and that is the side effects of the
natural selection.
Though Americans regard equality as a holy right of man-
kind, society is a complicated contradiction system, so it’s nec-
essary to view the picture from the all aspects. Human society
is unlike any other society in the world, mankind needs toler-
ance and love. Only when a society cares the weak and pay
attentions to the vulnerable groups, can we regard this society
as a true human society.
Other aspects of American Ideology would be listed in the
following part of the thesis.
The Impact on Students’ Ideology
With the learning of American English, Chinese college stu-
dents would somehow lose their mother language, Chinese,
according to the theory of language attrition, and thus would
lose their sense of belonging of Chinese culture and turn to the
culture the y are studying.
Impact on Idea and Culture Value
Sometimes, it is very confusing for Chinese students to un-
derstand the way Americans deal with things. As we all know
America is a highly developed country and it is a well organ-
ized civil society. They are always ready to give their hands to
the people that need help. However, the way they offer their
help is very different from that of the Chinese. For example, in
China, when we offer our help, we often say it in a more di rect
way, in America, they often say, “May I help you?” or “Can I
offer you my help?” They could ask permission first and the
subject of the sentence is “I”. In this way, the one who receives
help would not feel he or she is inferior to others. It’s more
polite and it’s also reflects the idea of equality. For example, in
China, a young man would be praised for giving his seat to an
elder man on the bus. But in America, the same thing would
turn out to be offending. Because if you give your seat to the
elder without permission the elder may think you hold the idea
that he is too old to take care of himself. So now, volunteers in
Chinese colleges are more likely to say, “May I help you?”
when they are trying to help someone. That is one way to show
the changing their thinking patterns.
During the process of English learning, the famous speech
Barack Obama made when he was elected the president of the
United States is familiar to all college students, in his speech he
stated, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that Amer-
ica is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if
the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still ques-
tions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” The
speech is such a powerful piece that no one would not be
deeply affected. Now in Chinese colleges, no matter where you
come from, rural areas or big cities, you have the equal chance
to receive higher education. Chinese universities are offering
more subsidy and new policies that aiming at the students who
need help. Gender discrimination is rarely seen in large cities of
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 167
China nowadays. However, in rural areas, this phenomenon is
still common. As the students are receiving education from
university, and especially learning Western culture through
American English, the idea of equality has interiorized into the
students’ hearts. There is a portion of college students that
come from rural areas, where Gender discrimination is still a
common phenomenon. However, with the study of English, the
idea of equality has spread among them. Female students are
aware that they can do as well as the male students do, and they
are acting more independently and with the initiative in their
own hands.
The idea of equality does not only go for human kind, but
also is true to animals. In traditional Chinese culture, the bal-
ance between human beings and other animals is not that har-
monious. In America, dogs, cats and other animals are treated
as very close friends or family members. When taking English
courses in college, it is very common for students to get access
to American movies that describe the close relationship be-
tween animals and mankind. Like the famous movie “Lassie
Come Home”tells a story about a Collie travel across England
to try to find his master. This movie vividly describes the loy-
alty of dogs and the moving relationship between dogs and men.
Other movies like “Eight Below”, “Marley & Me”, “Bolt”,
“Hachiko: A Dog’s Story” greatly influenced the young gen-
eration’s idea towards dogs or other animals. Many college
students have pets in their homes; they name their pets with
lovely names and treat them as their best friends. In society,
with more and more people join in the groups of animal protec-
tion and few restaurants are selling the meat of the dog.
In the meantime, the idea of natural selection is still affecting
Chinese college students. Competitions are getting fiercer every
year. Now, students are becoming more mutual before they
actually step into the complex society. They are more diplo-
matic in ways of dealing with other peoples, they are eager,
restless, talkative, ignorant bunch, but casually kind and im-
personal for all that are new to them. In English classes, stu-
dents are often required to stand on the stage in front of other
students to give presentations, speeches or oral plays. In this
way, students’ abilities have been greatly cultivated. They
won’t be shy when they are having job interviews and they are
more likely to show the best side of themselves. Such competi-
tions would benefit both the students and the employers as long
as it wouldn’t turn into cutthroat competition.
The Side-Effects of American Ideology
Like a coin, everything has two sides. While the Chinese col-
lege students are learning the advanced ideology form Ameri-
can, there are still many dark sides of its ideology. Therefore, it
is essential for us to understand the side-effects of American
Chinese university students are very familiar with festivals
like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. During
these festivals shops are crowded with feverish young people;
restaurants’ seats are all booked up; TV, radio and advertise-
ments are echoing the songs of festivals. Young university stu-
dents in China know more about the American festivals than
their own country’s festivals. As a matter of fact, researches
show that now students at college are more willing to celebrate
festivals like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day than
Chinese traditional festivals like Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon
Boat Festival, Double Ninth Festival, etc. Take Valentine’s Day
for example, young people prefer to celebrate on February 14th
instead of the Double Seventh Festival in the traditional Chi-
nese culture, sweet chocolate wrapped up in delicate colorful
papers and red roses that present love seem more attractive in
the eyes of the young generation. All the romantic scenes de-
scribed in American movies and novels have already been
rooted deep in Chinese young generation’s hearts.
Fast foods in McDonald and KFC are all college students’
favorite ones, but in fact, eating those fast foods too often is
unhealthy for bodies, such as fried chips and carbonated bever-
ages. Besides fast food, American foods like red wine steaks,
borsches, Pan Fried Chicken with Herb and so on are also the
students’ favorite foods. Many students prefer American style
food to traditional Chinese food. As for, the style of clothes,
students love to buy clothes of American brands, famous
brands like E-Land, Old Navy, Gapkid, Levi’s, Betty, Snoo-
py … Luxury brands like Calvin klein, Abercrombie and Fitch,
Jake Spade, Brooks Brothers, etc. All these dazzling brands
inevitably influence students’ culture values; when they are
trying to follow the trends of American living style, they are
likely to lose their own sense of belongings, in other words,
their self-identities. This uncertain feeling of losing the self-
identity would exert a subtle influence on their characters, such
as inferiority hedonism and blind worship. That is the part we
should be particular cautious about.
As to the entertainment, blockbusters of Hollywood movie
studios like Universal Picture Co., Paramount Pictures, 20th
Century-Fox Film Corp., Columbia Pictures Corp., Warner Bros.,
Pop songs of American singers like Blues, Jimmy eat the world,
Beyonce, Je nnifer, TV series like The Big Ba ng Theory, White
Collar, Mentalist, House, Gossip Girls, and others like novels,
magazines, newspapers are becoming an inseparable part of
college students’ lives. During the process of English learning
it is very efficient to practice the skill of listening and the sense
of language by watching the movies and following the songs.
With the learning of English, students’ mother language, so
Chinese would regress, and thus they are likely to worship
American celebrities. College students are easily influenced by
American style heroism, hedonism, individualism … Among
them; individualism is the most pestilent one. Chinese value
collectivism as the most important ideology advocates people
should put the interests of the state and people above all, advo-
cate protects state and collective interests and sacrifice personal
interests, while in American people think the individual free-
dom and personal interests are everyone’s basic rights and no
one and no institution or government should interfere with oth-
ers exercise personal rights.
It’s a fact that part of the Chinese college students are con-
tempt to traditional culture, therefore, it’s important to under-
stand the reason, thus we can promote the patriotic spirit to-
wards China and advance the fine cultural heritage of the nation
while we are absorbing the essence from American culture.
This thesis analyzes the impact of American ideology upon
Chinese college students, on the basis of theory of language
attrition. When college students are learning American English,
there is a psycholinguistic approach that they are likely to lose
the mastery of Chinese. For example when they come across
some situations in their lives, the first word jumping out of their
minds is more likely to be an English one. This is one phe-
nomenon to demonstrate the influence of language attrition on
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 169
Chinese college students. The result of language attrition would
lead to the transfer of Chinese college students’ ideology, which
includes ideas, culture value, self-identities, etc. The analysis of
this study suggests that language attrition can provide a poten-
tial theoretical and methodological way of its framework to
conduct an integrating analysis of the American ideology’s
impact on Chinese college students on both sides. This thesis
serves as a modest spur to induce other’s interest to make more
valuable contributions to this research. Thus we can better un-
derstand the practical significance of foreign language teachi ng.
Abercrombie, N. et al. (2010). The penguin dictionary of sociology.
New York, NY: Penguin.
Eagleton, T. (1991). Ideology: An introduction. Lon do n: Verso.
Gao, Y. H. (2007). Chinese college students’ English learning social
psychology. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
Köpke, B., & Monika S. S. (2007). Language attrition: Theoretical per-
spectives. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Com-
Lambert, R. D., & Barbara, F. (1982). The loss of language skills.
Rowley: Newbury House.
Lin, C. D. (2009). The meaning of thinking highly of the English learn-
ing. Chinese West Technique, 8, 102.
Weltens, B., & De Bot, K. (1986). Language attrition in progress.
Dordrecht: Foris Publications.
Yang, L. R. (2009). The Investigation of current foreign language at-
trition. Beijing: Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Foreign
Language Institute.
Zhu, W. L. (2002). International cultural strategy research. Shanghai:
Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.