Identity and Chinese language learning among ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Identity and language have sparked considerable interest in the field of multilingualism and education, where identity formation and development and language learning are examined via a mechanism of power in an inequitable world. In postcolonial Hong Kong, with its increasing racial, ethnic, cultural, and language diversity and a swift change of linguistic landscape, school-age minorities mainly of South Asian and Southeast Asian ethnicities find themselves categorised as ‘non-Chinese-speaking’ (NCS). The label ascribes linguistic and academic deficits and excludes them from the practices of the Chinese language community. Little is known about how stereotyped youth make meanings of the NCS label, and how they negotiate selves and navigate individual experiences of Chinese language learning. Drawing on ethnographic inquiries with twenty six minority students, this study took a critical perspective and interrogated minority students’ agentic meaning-making and language investment in response to the predominant societal/institutional image of NCS. It revealed that the minority youth de-otherised the NCS label, and beyond the ‘native/non-native’ binary, they asserted selves as ‘international multilinguals’, an empowering self-definition that had certain implications for language learning and practice. Copyright © 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual education yearbook 2018: Internationalization, stakeholders & multilingual education contexts
EditorsIndika LIYANAGE
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer
Pages125-137
ISBN (Electronic)9783319776552
ISBN (Print)9783319776545
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Citation

Gao, F. (2018). Identity and Chinese language learning among ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. In I. Liyanage (Ed.), Multilingual education yearbook 2018: Internationalization, stakeholders & multilingual education contexts (pp. 125-137). Switzerland: Springer.

Keywords

  • Non-Chinese-speaking
  • International multilinguals
  • Identity
  • Chinese language learning
  • Postcolonial Hong Kong