Learning English in different linguistic & socio-cultural contexts


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This is an autobiographical account of the writer’s long-term learning experiences of English in different linguistic and socio-cultural contexts. The personal account is divided into six parts: a teenage EFL learner before and during the Cultural Revolution when English was taken as a weapon for political struggle in China; a self-learner who worked on an assembly-line in a tractor factory, and picked up English only to kill time in a materially and culturally scarce environment; an adult-learner who finally got the chance to study English at a Chinese university under China’s open-door policy; a university lecturer learning how to use English in teaching while teaching; a post-graduate student trying to survive in Australia, where English is the first language for living and studying; a teacher educator in Hong Kong who continues learning to meet the challenges of academic work. Learning about the language preoccupies the first three stages, and learning to use the language dominates the last three stages. This personal account indicates a close relationship between communication needs and learning strategies adopted in different socio-cultural contexts. Copyright © 2002 English Centre, University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-121
JournalHong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


He, A. E. (2002). Learning English in different linguistic and socio-cultural contexts. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 7(2), 107-121.


  • Development of Disciplinary Knowledge (e.g. Sociology, Psychology)


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