Acknowledging the legitimacy of local practices: A study of communication challenges between Chinese and Australian university students


  • Yu Tim God Monash University
  • Hongzhi Zhang Monash University, Australia


English as a local practice, legitimate speaker, intercultural communication, international student


English is an important medium for global communication but its use in different communities is inevitably shaped by their local languages and cultures. International education research shows that differences in English language practices could introduce difficulties and stress into intercultural communication between international and host students. This study examines how Chinese international students understand and deal with difficulties in communication with host students at an Australian university in relation to different English practices. Findings show that Chinese students tend to consider their own practices as less legitimate than those of Australians. Since intercultural communication is a process of negotiating shared meanings based on each other’s “Local”, linguistically and culturally, without acknowledgement of the legitimacy of their own local practices, Chinese students may find it difficult to utilize language and cultural resources to communicate with their Australian peers.






Vol 17 (3) ECR Special Edition