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Keeping Up Appearances before the “Other”? Interculturality and Occidentalism in the Educational TV-Program “Happy Chinese”

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“Happy Chinese” or kuaile hanyu is an educational melodrama produced by the Chinese TV channel CCTV in 2009. Aiming to improve foreign learners’ Chinese language skills, the plot revolves around Susan, an American, staying with her former Chinese classmate’s family. “Happy Chinese” proposes both language and cultural learning. In this paper, the authors are examining the first seven episodes marking Susan’s arrival in China for the Spring Festival. Basing the study on a postmodern and critical approach to the “intercultural,” as well as on a critical view towards Orientalism and Occidentalism, the authors are interested in how the programme constructs the arrival of the American and the way she is perceived and represented by the “locals.” The authors are also looking into what the Chinese family teaches Susan about being Chinese and, at the same time, the tensions that a certain tendency to “keep up appearances” and appear “real Chinese” before her trigger in the family, across generation and gender. The research tools used to analyze the data are derived from discursive pragmatics.

10.3868/s110-001-012-0028-4
/content/journals/10.3868/s110-001-012-0028-4
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/content/journals/10.3868/s110-001-012-0028-4
2012-01-01
2016-12-03

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