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Boping Yuan became a worker in a carpentry workshop in China after his secondary school, and was among those first groups of people who entered universities when universities re-opened in China after the ten-year Cultural Revolution. He read English language and literature as an undergraduate at Yantai Teacher's College (now Ludong University), China, from 1978 to 1982. Then he taught English as a foreign language at universities in China and on the China Central Television. In 1986, he entered Shanghai Jiaotong University, China, and did postgraduate studies in Applied Linguistics. In 1988, he got a scholarship from the British Council to study at Edinburgh University, where he first studied for an M.Sc. in Applied Linguistics and then for a PhD in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. In 1992, he came to Cambridge, where he has been teaching Chinese language and linguistics and directing the modern Chinese language programme.
He has supervised undergraduate and graduate dissertations on Chinese linguistics and second language acquisition. He has designed modern Chinese syllabi for both the undergraduate program and the two-year M.Phil in Chinese Studies. He welcomes enquiries from graduate students interested in Chinese syntax and second language acquisition within the framework of formal linguistics.
Dr Yuan also teaches and supervises students of Chinese Studies.
Dr Yuan is the College's Director of Studies in AMES and he meets students regularly to discuss their academic progress.