Perceptions of Ethnolinguistic Identity in Non-Heritage Mandarin Chinese Classes
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This study starts with a personal story and addresses questions about the perceptions of ethnolinguistic identity of postsecondary Chinese Language Learners (CLLs), investigating how the effects of First-Year Non-Heritage (NH) program have shaped the way Broadly-Defined Heritage Language Learners (BDHLLs) view themselves in class. Eighteen voluntary Chinese Languages Learners (CLLs), including ten students who self-identified as ethnically Chinese (nine Chinese dialect speakers, one mixed-heritage student who is of Chinese ancestry) and eight Non-Heritage Chinese students, were interviewed. First-Year Non-Heritage and Heritage Chinese instructors and two graduate Non-Heritage Chinese teaching assistants were also interviewed for the purpose of triangulation. The transcripts generated from the conversations provided a narrative record for qualitative study to demonstrate how perceptions of ethnolinguistic identity of these Chinese Languages Learners (CLLs) emerged contextually. Contents of the textbooks and other relevant documents, such as course catalogue and syllabi, also were analyzed. This study was grounded in Riley's (2007) ethnolinguistic identity and Norton's (2000) notion of investment in language learning, and it used narrative inquiry and content analysis to examine the ethnolinguistic effects of Non-Heritage language program on First-Year Chinese students at this site. The study's findings followed five major themes. These are significance of Chinese names, finding trans-nationality, advantages of learning Chinese, learning Chinese as a new versus foreign language, and learners' perceptions of a racialized Non-Heritage Chinese course. This study makes several contributions to the field of second language education. The major contribution is that it urges second language educators and researchers to rethink the definition of Non-Heritage in the context of ethnolinguistic identity and investment and it also addressed heterogeneity that the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) guidelines failed to discuss.
- Education - Seattle