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Multilingual socialization: Negotiating multiple languages, identities, ideologies, and practices

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In this presentation I describe the theoretical underpinnings of multilingual socialization, a fertile area of research internationally (Duff, 2012; Duff & Hornberger, 2008; Duff & Talmy, 2011), and note several recent illustrative studies. I then present my research on socialization into—and through—Mandarin and English language education, ideologies, and practices within the multilingual ecology of Yunnan Province in southwest China, home to 25 ethnic minority groups. While many Yunnanese speak minority languages in their everyday lives, those languages are generally not part of their formal education. Therefore, once students encounter Mandarin and English through formal schooling, especially past the primary years, and migrate to towns and cities, language shift to Mandarin is often inevitable. I describe the multilingual repertoires, ideologies, and socialization of a subset of Chinese (minority-background) English teachers and students from a larger study, in which participants reflect on their multilingual and multicultural lives, losses, and desires in relation to English and their other languages. I conclude by considering possibilities, tensions, and vulnerabilities in multilingual socialization for learners in these and other minority-language contexts.

This talk is part of the Centre for Commonwealth Education (CCE) series.

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