China’s English Language Environment

Jeffrey Gil

Abstract


Chinese students and teachers often say that the major challenge they face in acquiring English is that “China does not have a good English language environment” (zhong guo de ying yu huan jing bu tai hao) by which they mean there are insufficient opportunities to use English in real life situations and a lack of exposure to authentic English language material. Based on a review of the use of English in China and the author’s own experiences living and teaching there, this paper will show that China’s English language environment is actually much richer than is commonly believed. It argues that the two main issues which need to be addressed are raising awareness of the amount and type of English language material and opportunities to use the language available and developing ways for students and teachers to use such material and opportunities, both in and outside of the classroom.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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