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Academic Paper


Title: English in China today
Author: Kingsley Bolton
Institution: Stockholm University
Author: David Graddol
Email: click here TO access email
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: According to a 2010 China Daily article, the number of English learners in China is now around 400 million, approximately one third of China's population (see also Wei and Su, this issue). The importance of English in the state education system has been supplemented by the rapid growth of privately-run language schools and training institutes across the country in recent years. The same article quoted a comment by Ms Xiao Yan, the public relations manager of the Wall Street English language school chain, who gave her explanation for the current popularity of English in the following terms:

More and more importance has been given to English after China carried out the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world in the late 1970s. And accompanying China's rise on the world stage in recent years are growing connections of commerce and culture with other countries, especially those developed English-speaking countries […] The entire Chinese society attaches high importance to the English study as sometimes it even plays a vital role for a person who plans to pursue further education and seek a better career. There is no doubt that people who have a good command of English are more competitive than their peers. (China Daily, 2010a)

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This article appears IN English Today Vol. 28, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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