Language socialization and identity in intercultural communication: Experience of Chinese students in a transnational university in China

Wanyu Amy OU, Ming Yue Michelle GU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This qualitative study investigates the language socialization experiences and identity construction of a group of Chinese students when they interact with their international peers, in a transnational university in China. This study is informed by the recent critical ethnographic sociolinguistics studies (e.g. Blommaert 2010), language socialization (Duff 2007; Schieffelin and Ochs 1986), and the post-structuralist conceptualization of identity (Norton 2000). Drawing on interview and observation data, this study finds an asymmetrical power relationship between Chinese students and their native-English-speaking peers in conversations, which precipitates the separation of the two groups on campus and pushes Chinese students into a vulnerable ESL speaker positioning. This study indicates that the asymmetrical power relationship, in spite of its existence, tends to be hidden under the cloak of intercultural difference and taken as a natural and granted convention. Moreover, the findings suggest that the intercultural communication in this transnational higher education context provides a space for reciprocal language socialization in which the Chinese students are empowered to construct a multilingual Chinese identity, which opens up possibilities to interculturalism. Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Early online dateMay 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2018

Fingerprint

intercultural communication
socialization
China
university
language
experience
student
Group
sociolinguistics
speaking
conversation
Intercultural Communication
Chinese Students
Language Socialization
interview
education
Asymmetrical
Peers
Power Relationships

Citation

Ou, W. A., & Gu, M. M. (2018). Language socialization and identity in intercultural communication: Experience of Chinese students in a transnational university in China. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2018.1472207

Keywords

  • Intercultural communication
  • Language socialization
  • Identity
  • Critical ethnographic sociolinguistics
  • Transnational higher education in China