English learners from China and their stories with English the language: A close look at Chinese ESL learners

Lijuan Joanna LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Based on relevant second language acquisition (SLA) theories, this study aims to review and compare the learning experiences of four English learners from China who are currently studying in Hong Kong. Content analysis was conducted with the verbatim transcripts, which revealed while comparing the nature of the participants’ second language (L2) input, the types of learning strategies they have employed, the state of their interlanguages, and the types of errors they make. It is hoped that case studies like this will provide empirical investigation into individual L2 learners’ English learning experiences, and answer some specific questions on the ground of SLA theories. The recommendation is for instruments like the grammaticality judgement task be employed in language education to catch more information on the nature of learners’ interlanguages. Combined with corpus analysis and computer-aided error analysis, it will also add to the body of SLA literature theoretical findings. In a practical sense, it will provide implications to policy makers and language educators regarding their strategic development and curriculum design for English learners, learners in and from China particularly. Constituting a large proportion of English learners in the global education market, Chinese learners make significant differences to international education and development. Tailor-made instruction based on person-to-person comparison that this study attempts to convey will lead to development in a micro scope at the initial stage. Copyright © 1989-2015 by the CESHK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Education and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


language acquisition
human being
language education
learning strategy
Hong Kong
content analysis


Li, L. (2015). English learners from China and their stories with English the language: A close look at Chinese ESL learners. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 17(1), 46-56.


  • Interlanguage
  • Learning strategy
  • Fossilization
  • Explicit knowledge
  • Implicit knowledge