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Language Education in ChinaPolicy and Experience from 1949$
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Agnes S.L. Lam

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9789622097506

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622097506.001.0001

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Promoting English and Other Foreign Languages

Promoting English and Other Foreign Languages

(p.71) 3 Promoting English and Other Foreign Languages
Language Education in China

Agnes S. L. Lam

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter presents the changes in foreign language policy in the light of China's relations with the world. Statistics from a survey offer an overall picture of the experience of learning English from primary school to university in the last few decades. Four case histories of learners, two older and two younger, make these statistics more meaningful in terms of individual experiences of the changes through time. Finally, information provided by heads of programmes of English and other foreign languages give an indication of some of the recent circumstances. From the data provided, it is apparent that English has been the most important foreign language in China since the late 1950s. Russian competence is still available among some of the older teaching staff though the most popular second foreign language among younger foreign language professionals now seems to be Japanese. With China's entry into the World Trade Organization, it is to be expected that a number of European languages may attract more learning fervour from students training to be foreign language professionals at university level. At the school level, it is likely that English will continue to be exclusively important, that is, in addition to the Chinese language.

Keywords:   Foreign language policy, Foreign languages, Chinese language, English, China

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