MEMORIES OF LANGUAGE LOST AND LEARNED: PARENTS AND THE SHAPING OF CHINESE AS A HERITAGE LANGUAGE IN CANADA by Ai Mizuta B.A., Keio University, 2001 M.A., University of Toronto, 2003 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Language and Literacy Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) March 2017 Ó Ai Mizuta, 2017 ii Abstract Within the complex context of English language dominance and multiculturalism policy, Chinese language education is at a remarkable moment in Vancouver where history, politics and the economy are intertwined with demographic changes. This dissertation seeks to understand Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) in Canada through the stories of Chinese Canadian parents’ struggles and choices regarding their own heritage language. This study takes a life history research approach, which understands individuals’ life stories through a historical lens (Goodson & Sikes, 2001). The study consists of 10 parents from two groups of self-identified Chinese Canadians who reside in Metro Vancouver. The first group (Group 1) consists of parents who were either born in Canada or immigrated before the age of 4, had limited exposure to their heritage language, and predominantly speak English. The second group (Group 2) consists of parents who immigrated to Canada in their adulthood from Mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong, speak one or more of a variety of Chinese languages, and learned to speak English as an additional language. Beginning with the theoretical framework that perceives language practice as the outcome of the interrelation between socio-historical distributions of capital and the dispositions of individuals that are shaped and reshaped in their situated field (Bourdieu, 1991), this study captures CHL along multiple timescales (Braudel, 1958/2009) to understand the long term historical continuities of Chinese language education in a city shaped by colonial language hierarchies. The parents’ narratives show that despite the increasing popularity of learning Chinese and the rise of the Chinese economy, the challenges of CHL education have largely remained the same over decades. This study argues that English monolingualism as a foundational property in Canada is the root of the problem for CHL education and Chinese language programs in public schools, not the “increasing” presence of Chinese. As long as the unmarkedness of English today is (mis)recognized as natural and neutral, the markedness of Chinese as social other will still remain. iii Preface This thesis is the intellectual property of its author, Ai Mizuta. The research was approved by UBC’s Research Ethics Board, certificate H12-01239, project name “Bilingualism for all? Language policies, ideologies and Chinese language education in Metro Vancouver.” iv Table of Contents Abstract ............................................................................................................................. ii Preface ...............................................................................................................................iii Table of Contents ............................................................................................................. iv List of Tables................................................................................................................... vii List of Figures ................................................................................................................. viii Acknowledgements.............................................................................................................ix Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Background and Motivation ......................................................................................................... 2 1.3 About this Study ................................................................................................................................. 5 1.4 What is Chinese as a Heritage Language (CHL)? ............................................................. 7 1.5 Research Questions ........................................................................................................................... 9 1.6 Potential Significance ........................................................................................ 9 1.7 Structure of the Thesis ................................................................................................................... 11 Chapter 2: Sociohistorical Contexts of Chinese Canadians ......................................... 14 2.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 14 2.2 The “Othering” of Chinese in British Columbia .............................................................. 14 2.3 Multiculturalism Within a Bilingual Framework ............................................................. 21 2.4 Debates over Chinese Bilingual Education in Metro Vancouver ............................ 28 2.5 Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 44 Chapter 3: Conceptual Lens of Habitus and Field ........................................................ 45 3.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 45 3.2 Understanding My Experience of Bilingual Parenting through Bourdieu .......... 45 3.3 Habitus and Field ............................................................................................................................. 48 3.4 Language Ideology and Symbolic Violence ....................................................................... 52 3.5 Heritage Language Education through Bourdieu’s Lens ............................................. 55 3.6 Identity in Chinese as a Heritage Language (CHL) ........................................................ 58 Chapter 4: Methodology .................................................................................................. 63 4.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 63 4.2 Defining Life History Research ................................................................................................ 64 v 4.3 Bourdieu and Personal Narrative/Life History Interview ............................................ 67 4.4 Collecting Life Stories ................................................................................................................... 69 4.5 How I Understand Life History Interviews ......................................................................... 76 4.6 From Life History Interviews to Life History Research ............................................... 82 Chapter 5: Being Chinese as being Othered: Lily, Emily and Jack ............................ 88 5.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 88 5.2 Lily .......................................................................................................................................................... 89 5.3 Analysis of Lily’s Story: Chinese Face and Shame ........................................................ 96 5.4 Emily ................................................................................................................................................... 101 5.5 Analysis of Emily’s Story: Teased for being Chinese ................................................ 107 5.6 Jack ....................................................................................................................................................... 109 5.7 Analysis of Jack’s Story: Embarrassment, Fitting In, and Identity Crisis ........ 121 5.8 Summary and Discussion .......................................................................................................... 124 Chapter 6: Distancing Oneself from Other Chinese: Harry and Joyce .................... 129 6.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 129 6.2 Harry .................................................................................................................................................... 129 6.3 Analysis of Harry’s Story: Chinese as the Social Other ............................................ 135 6.4 Joyce .................................................................................................................................................... 138 6.5 Analysis of Joyce’s Story: From Othering Mandarin to Learning Mandarin . 144 6.6 Summary and Discussion .......................................................................................................... 147 Chapter 7: Stories of Chinese Immigrant Parents: Mia, Oliver, Isabelle, Thomas and Sophia...................................................................................................................... 152 7.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 152 7.2 Mia ........................................................................................................................................................ 153 7.3 Oliver ................................................................................................................................................... 159 7.4 Isabelle ................................................................................................................................................ 164 7.5 Thomas ............................................................................................................................................... 168 7.6 Sophia ................................................................................................................................................. 173 7.7 Summary and Discussion .......................................................................................................... 179 vi Chapter 8: Recurring Challenges of CHL Education across Generations ............... 186 8.1 Introduction .................................................................................................... 186 8.2 Problems of Weekend/Afterschool CHL Schools ........................................................ 186 8.3 Learning Chinese within Regular Schooling ................................................. 199 8.4 Access Problems: Early-Start Chinese Bilingual Program ...................................... 201 8.5 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 210 Chapter 9: Conclusion ................................................................................................... 214 9.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 214 9.2 Limitations and Future Research Directions ................................................................... 214 9.3 Significance and Contributions .............................................................................................. 215 9.4 Timescale One: From Childhood to Parenthood ........................................................... 217 9.5 Timescale Two: What has not Changed in Four Decades ........................................ 223 9.6 Timescale Three: Comparing Parents’ Stories in Contemporary Time ............. 225 9.7 Historical Parallels and Continuity and Change ............................................................ 231 9.8 Implications ...................................................................................................................................... 235 References …................................................................................................................. 239 Appendix ....................................................................................................................... 267 vii List of Tables Table 4.1 Interview Questions .......................................................................................... 72 Table 4.2 Predominantly English-Speaking (Group 1) Parents ........................................ 75 Table 4.3 Predominantly Chinese-Speaking (Group 2) Parents ....................................... 75 Table 5.1 Trajectories of Group 1 Parents’ Chinese Language Learning ....................... 128 Table 6.1 Trajectories of Chinese Language Learning and Investment in Their Children’s Chinese Language Education .................................................................................. 150 Table 7.1 Group 2 (Recently Immigrated Chinese Canadian) Parents’ Investment in Their Children’s Chinese Language Education ................................................................ 180 Table 8.1 Group 1 Parents’ Experience with CHL Schools as Children ........................ 187 viii List of Figures Figure 4.1 Research Questions and Multiple Timescales .............................................. 87 Figure 8.1 Type 1 Discordance.....................................................................................190 Figure 8.2 Type 2 Discordance.....................................................................................190 Figure 8.3 The Recurring Pattern of Type 1 Discordance ........................................... 197 Figure 8.4 The Recurring Pattern of Type 2 Discordance ........................................... 197 ix Acknowledgements Finishing a doctoral dissertation is a long, often difficult journey. Thank you to all of those who supported me along the way. I gratefully acknowledge financial support for this dissertation from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). A special thank you to my supervisor, Dr. Patsy Duff, and to my committee members, Dr. Ryuko Kubota and Dr. Steven Talmy, for their support and guidance. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with these wonderful scholars. Thank you to the university examiners, Dr. Mona Gleason and Dr. Guofang Li, and the external examiner, Dr. Xiao-Lan Curdt-Christiansen, for their thoughtful comments and for the respect shown to my work by their engaged reading, and to Chair Dr. Handel Wright for facilitating an oral defence that was warm and supportive. Thank you to my colleagues and friends who gave me tremendous encouragement, love and support. Thank you Michelle, for helping me reach out to the parents involved in this study. Many thanks to Kim and Geneviève for supporting me along this rocky road. Without you, this journey would never have been possible. Chie, thank you for all your time you spent with Michi and Yukie. Because you taught them to play and read and write and celebrate festivals in Japanese, I was able to work on my dissertation knowing that my children were not suffering from my absence. My deepest appreciation and love to my family. Thank you for all your love, Henry for his support, inspiration, humour and insight, Michi and Yukie for teaching me what life is all about, Chloe and Mylo for helping me keep perspective, Mama and Baba for always being there for me, and mom and dad for your unconditional love and trust in me. Finally, a special thank you to all the parents for sharing their memories of language lost and learned. 1 Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Introduction Seventy years have passed since Chinese Canadians gained their rights to vote in Canada.1 Half a century has passed since racial criteria were removed from Canada’s immigration policy. Canada has become a country that is known for accommodating residents from diverse backgrounds with minimal backlash against a multiculturalism policy that was introduced in the 1970s (Wong & Guo, 2015). For example, anti-Muslim sentiment is documented to be much lower in Canada than in other parts of the world, and 85% of Canadians consider multiculturalism important (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2010). Counter-intuitively, however, language education does not necessarily reflect Canada’s openness to ethnic diversity: multiculturalism does not equate to multilingualism. Studies show that multilingual speakers in Anglophone provinces of Canada are subject to an intense pressure to become English monolingual (e.g., Cummins, 2005; Cummins & Danesi, 1990; Kiernan, 2010; Kouritzin, 1999; G. Li, 2003). In fact, scholars have observed that heritage language loss is almost complete within three generations in Canada, no slower than the U.S., where there is no official multicultural policy (Alba, Logan, Lutz, & Stults, 2002; Churchill, 2003; Houle, 2011; Swidinsky & Swidinsky, 1997). This is part of my family history. My mother-in-law speaks Cantonese and Mandarin whereas my father-in-law speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and several other Chinese dialects. Their nine grandchildren do not speak any of the Chinese languages. Among various heritage languages spoken in Canada,2 the presence of “Chinese” (i.e., one of many Chinese languages) is particularly old, dating back as early as the 1770s (Meares, 1790/1916). Chinese is used here as an umbrella term that encompasses different groups of languages and dialects. The conventionally accepted groups are Gan, Mandarin, Hakka, Min (e.g., Taiwanese), Wu, Xiang and Yue (e.g., Cantonese) (Ramsey, 1987). As 1 Chinese Canadians were disenfranchised since the 1870s. In 1947, Chinese Canadians gained the right to vote in federal elections although the election didn’t happen until 1949. Provincially, in 1949, British Columbia allowed Chinese Canadians to vote for provincial elections. See Chapter 2 for more details. 2 In Canada, heritage language refers to the languages of immigrants other than English and French, and does not include indigenous languages, whereas in the U.S., the term includes indigenous languages and immigrants’ languages other than English (Cummins, 1992, 2005). 2 Pennycook (2012) asserts, what counts as Chinese––or English––is an ideological construct. For example, “despite the mutual unintelligibility” among the Chinese varieties, “Chinese have generally been reluctant to call them different languages” (Wiley et al., 2008, p. 6). Such belief regarding what counts as a language or a dialect is also related to the construct of standard written Chinese, as “the written standard overrides the different oral varieties as a standard” (Ramsey, 1987, p. 18). Due to the long history of Chinese immigration to British Columbia, ethnic Chinese communities in Vancouver are incredibly diverse and the strategic importance of English and/or Chinese competence has varied considerably over time. Within the complex context of English language dominance and the policy of multiculturalism, Chinese language education in Vancouver is at a remarkable moment where history, politics and the economy are intertwined with demographic changes. In 2011, the ethnic Chinese population accounted for 18% of the whole population of Metro Vancouver (Statistics Canada, 2012). Vancouver, a city that was built upon white supremacy and a long history of both Chinese immigration and exclusion (Roy, 1989), is now experiencing the increasing importance of the economy of China as well as Chinese culture and language. The challenges of adjustment to the new global economic and sociopolitical reality and strategic aspirations to become the Asia-Pacific Gateway of North America, however, are sometimes confounded by a colonial legacy that remains ubiquitous though often hidden in today’s Vancouver (Stanley, 2009). Chinese language education is a particularly revealing site where we can see the conflict between past and future. 1.2 Background and Motivation I came to Vancouver in 2006 from Tokyo to work for the Japanese Consulate as a researcher. My task there was to investigate the issues surrounding multiculturalism in British Columbia. More specifically, the consulate was interested in how multiculturalism worked in Vancouver, and how the city and the province were handling the large increase in the Chinese population. Quickly, I was intrigued by the long history and diversity of Chinese Canadian communities in Vancouver. As an individual who grew up in Japan and Australia, and who went through language attrition in both Japanese and English at different stages of life, my interest soon became focused on Chinese language education within the complex context of English language dominance and multiculturalism policy. 3 In 2008, I became involved in a parents’ movement aimed at creating an early-start Mandarin bilingual education program in Vancouver. While many parents who spoke Chinese were extremely concerned with their children’s Chinese learning, and expressed their desires to have their children enrolled in the early-start Chinese bilingual program, some of the members of the organization––predominantly English-speaking parents who were ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese––were strongly opposed to the idea that the program would include Chinese-speaking households. They claimed that those who speak Chinese as their home language should learn English first, and that these speakers should learn Chinese at a heritage language school. With the recent rise of immigration from China to Vancouver, this exclusion of children whose home language is Chinese from early-start programs was puzzling to me, in particular because of the success of two-way immersion models in the U.S. (e.g., De Jong & Howard, 2009; Marian, Shook, & Schroeder, 2013), and bilingual programs in Alberta (J. Wu, 2005). But the harder I tried to convince the parents of the efficacy of including Chinese speaking children and exposing their English language speaking children to more rather than fewer Chinese speakers, the more I felt an incommensurable gap. What made them feel so strongly that Chinese speakers should only learn English? Some parents got so emotional that the discussion often involved tears. I was puzzled especially because many parents who argued for an English speakers’ program that kept Chinese-speaking children out were themselves of ethnic Chinese background. I suspected, and perhaps assumed, that they themselves had struggled learning Chinese as they grew up in Canada; but then why were they so strongly opposed to having Chinese speakers join the program? As a researcher who had already completed a master’s degree in language education, my purpose––perhaps beyond my role as a researcher for the Japanese consulate––was to support the creation of a bilingual program that would draw from the most current and best language education research, and that could take advantage of Vancouver’s abundance of engaged students and parents from all linguistic backgrounds. Vancouver seemed to be a perfect place for an effective early-start Chinese language bilingual program, a belief that was widely shared among parents, school administrators, and the vocal advocates for the creation of the program. However, after several months of attending the parents’ group meetings, it became clear to me that the extensive research and the existence of successful programs that warranted the implementation of a program that contained both English 4 speakers and non-English speakers was not just being ignored, but actively being shunned. I was shocked when two of the school boards in Metro Vancouver decided that only fluent English speakers at the age of 4 or 5 years old could join the early-start Chinese program in kindergarten. It was as if Chinese-speaking households were being told to wait for another generation so that their children could become English-only speakers, and then their monolingual grandchildren could join the program and learn Chinese. If an integrative program is possible in the U.S. or other parts of Canada (i.e., Alberta), why was it not possible in Vancouver? Was there something unique about Vancouver and British Columbia that counter-intuitively constrained and limited the potential for Chinese language education rather than leveraged the immense linguistic and cultural capital contained within its diverse population? Before exploring the experiences of individual ethnic Chinese parents, I realized that there was a need to understand the past and present of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia. After marrying a Chinese Canadian who was born and raised in Vancouver and raising children of both Japanese and Chinese heritage, I came to understand the situation at a deeper embodied level as I began myself to live the experience of many parents of minority language background. I could feel the challenges of speaking Japanese to my daughters within an English-dominant environment, and the challenges seemed to be growing day by day. I cannot help speaking English to her, even though I am most comfortable myself speaking Japanese.3 Speaking your native language to your own daughters. It would seem somehow natural even without a conscious choice. But speaking Japanese or English to my children rarely seemed the result of a conscious choice, even as I berated myself for not being disciplined enough to speak only Japanese to her even when I was with her alone. Was something else going on? At times I am bewildered by the fact that even though I am familiar with theories about language education, there seemed to be more involved in language use between parent and child than the theories could adequately explain. 3 I spent part of my childhood in Brisbane, Australia learning English while losing most of my Japanese. However, within a few years after going back to Japan, I almost completely lost my English while still struggling to read and write Japanese. It took me about 7 years to feel comfortable academically in Japanese before entering university, while relearning English required more work. 5 I was not the only person who had stories to tell about the difficulty of speaking or learning a non-English language in Vancouver. Many Chinese Canadian friends and family members who were raised in Canada often told me about their regrets about not having learned Chinese as they grew up. I found myself wanting to know more about their stories. Why didn’t they learn it, and what kind of events triggered their regrets? They often happened to be parents who were hoping that their children would learn Chinese. Why did they want their children to learn Chinese, and how was this connected––or not––to their own experiences of not learning Chinese as children? I also met new immigrants from China who seemed heavily invested in their children’s Chinese language education. What were their experiences regarding their children’s language use, and how did their thoughts and feelings connect with the experience of Canada-born Chinese parents? These kinds of questions motivated me to conduct the present study. It was because of my own experience of parenting, and hearing about some of the experiences of other parents, that I became convinced that in order to properly understand children’s language education in both home and school settings, we must take into account the embodied practices that Bourdieu (1991) defines as habitus. Some of these practices seem to be consciously controlled and the result of reasoned decisions, but what is more analytically interesting is how we can understand those aspects of embodiment that involve affect and feeling and bodily habit. One of the most powerful aspects of the way in which racial and linguistic hierarchies have shaped language learning in Canada is the emotional depth of beliefs and feelings about English language use. As a scholar, to understand how the parents and others who helped organize the Mandarin language program in Metro Vancouver felt about speaking English and Chinese required an analytical approach that took seriously how embodied practices are created and what effects these practices have. 1.3 About this Study This dissertation seeks to understand Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) in Canada through the stories of Chinese Canadian parents’ struggles, dilemmas, and choices regarding their own heritage language. As discussed in a number of research studies, understanding parents’ attitudes and roles has been crucial to CHL research (e.g., Chik, 2010; Curdt-Christiansen, 2003, 2009, 2014; G. Li, 2006a, 2006b, 2006c; G. Li & Wang, 2012). However, the Chinese Canadian parents who are, together with the children 6 themselves, the main stakeholders of CHL are incredibly diverse in terms of language backgrounds, places of origin, socioeconomic status, and citizenship and immigration categories. In terms of CHL education in Metro Vancouver, parents have been positioned differently depending on whether they predominantly speak English or Chinese (Mizuta, 2009, 2015, 2016; Mizuta & Kubota, 2012). On one end of the spectrum, there are parents who grew up in Canada and have themselves gone through CHL learning. These parents predominantly speak English and often have limited knowledge of a Chinese language. On the other end of the spectrum, there are parents who grew up in Chinese-speaking environments and recently migrated to Canada. These parents speak various dialects of Chinese and learned English as an additional language. This study aims to capture CHL from the perspectives of parents all along this spectrum. The conceptual framework of this study is based on Bourdieu’s (1977b, 1991) constructs of habitus, capital and field. The concepts of habitus and field explain why individuals consciously and unconsciously choose or resist learning or using particular languages in different social contexts. Because linguistic practices are perceived as an exchange of symbolic, cultural or economic capital, and because these forms of capital are not equally distributed within society, those who possess linguistic habitus4 with greater capital in the given field are unmarked and normalized (e.g., standardized English) and have symbolic dominance over those who are marked as they do not possess the right habitus (e.g., non-standardized English). Methodologically, this study takes a life history research approach, which understands individuals’ life stories through a historical lens (Goodson & Sikes, 2001). The study consists of 10 parents from two groups of self-identified Chinese Canadians who reside in Metro Vancouver. The first group (Group 1) consists of parents who were either born in Canada or immigrated before the age of 4, had limited exposure to their heritage language, and predominantly speak English. The second group (Group 2) consists of parents who 4 In this paper, I take Atkinson’s (2011) view that habitus is both a singular and a plural form of habitus. As Atkinson posits, “there seems to be no shortage of confusion, especially at conferences but also in print (including Bourdieu’s own writings in English), over the plural form of the Latin word habitus. ‘Habituses’ and, as in this case, ‘habiti’ have both appeared, but in actual fact the correct plural form of habitus, as far as I am aware, is simply habitus” (p. 344). 7 immigrated to Canada in their adulthood from Mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. The Group 2 participants predominantly speak one or more of a variety of Chinese languages, and learned to speak English as an additional language. All of the participants from both groups are parents with aspirations for their children to learn Chinese (i.e., Mandarin, Cantonese, and/or Taiwanese). Beginning with the theoretical framework that language practice is the outcome of the interrelation between socio-historical distributions of capital and the dispositions of individuals (i.e., habitus) that are shaped and reshaped in their situated field (Bourdieu, 1977a, 1991), in this study I am interested in capturing CHL on multiple timescales, or temporalities (Braudel, 1958/2009; Holland & Lave, 2001, 2009; Lemke, 2001, 2009; Wortham, 2005). The life history approach allows me to situate individuals’ stories in the historical context of Canadian society both in terms of continuity and change and additionally to understand Chinese language education in the historicity of multiple individual timelines. By understanding language practice through the framework of habitus and field (which are discussed in more detail in Chapter 2), this study aims to understand how narratives such as the cycle of generational differences both express meaningful stories about life experiences while also hiding the workings of linguistic capital and status. By paying attention to the workings of time, and the multiple timelines within which my subjects narrate and understand their existence, I hope in this study to analyze language learning in ways that are respectful of and attentive to their stories and yet also able to understand the long term historical continuities of Chinese language education in a city shaped by colonial language hierarchies. 1.4 What is Chinese as a Heritage Language (CHL)? In Canada, heritage languages refer to the languages other than English and French that were brought by immigrants (Cummins, 1992). There is no doubt, then, that Chinese is one of Canada’s heritage languages. However, when we say Chinese as a heritage language (CHL), it presupposes that Chinese is not always a heritage language in Canada, but only under certain conditions. In other words, terms such as Chinese as a foreign language or Chinese as a second language coexist within Canada even though Chinese is one of Canada’s heritage languages. The different labels assigned to Chinese (e.g., as a heritage language, as a second language, as a foreign language) are reflections of the assumption that 8 languages should be taught differently depending on the category of learners and the learning contexts. For example, if you are a mainstream English speaker, it is assumed that Chinese should be taught as a foreign language (i.e., when learned in Canada) or second language (when learned in a Chinese-speaking context, typically abroad; see Cummins, 2005, p. 586). In contrast, when Chinese is taught as a heritage language, it often assumes that the learners already have some familiarity with the language as a home language, or they have ancestral connections to the language (Cummins, 2005). (For comprehensive definitions of CHL learners, see He, 2008a; D. Li & Duff, 2008.) As a result, CHL learners in Canada and elsewhere are incredibly diverse, with varying proficiency levels in Chinese, and varying familiarity and sense of belonging to or affiliation with their heritage (D. Li & Duff, 2014). However, as D. Li and Duff (2014) posit, the definitions and labels may not match how learners position themselves. Interestingly, the parents group for an early-start Mandarin bilingual program in British Columbia that is the focus of part of this study emphasized that the program should not be a heritage language program but rather a second language program despite the fact that many parents involved in the movement were ethnic Chinese––descendants of global Chinese migration. As a result, by the end of the movement their claim that the program was not a Chinese as a heritage language program had successfully excluded Chinese-speaking households from the parents’ group (for more details, see Chapter 2). In this instance, terms such as heritage language, heritage program, or heritage learners were used as exclusionary markers by parents who positioned themselves as English speakers despite the fact that they and their children would themselves be classified into the category of CHL learners within some scholarly definitions. Along with other stakeholders, the parents’ group created a discourse about Chinese language use that ended up excluding those they defined as “heritage language speakers” from the program, in the same process shaping and reshaping the very meaning of CHL. Indeed, as Wiley (2001a) posits, “deciding on what types of learners should be included under the heritage language label raises a number of issues related to identity and inclusion and exclusion” (p. 35). The title of this dissertation, “the shaping of CHL,” reflects how sites of struggle over language education 9 such as the parents’ movement are dynamic processes of inclusion and exclusion that define in visceral ways what “heritage” and belonging mean.5 1.5 Research Questions In this study of the shaping of CHL, the over-arching research question is: How can we make sense of Chinese Canadian parents’ stories regarding Chinese language education when we situate the stories and analyses within the long history of Chinese in Canada? Sub-questions examined are: Research Question #1: What are the trajectories of English-speaking Chinese Canadian parents’ (Group 1) attitudes, feelings, perceptions and practices regarding CHL from childhood to parenthood? RQ#1 focuses on Group 1 parents only because these parents were the ones who are able to tell the stories of what it was like to be growing up as ethnic Chinese and learning (or not learning) their heritage languages. Research Question #2: What are the recurring problems and issues regarding CHL learning in Canada that are addressed in both Group 1 parents’ stories of childhood experiences and Group 2 parents’ stories of contemporary Canada? Research Question #3: What are the similarities and differences between Group 1 parents and Group 2 parents regarding their desires, challenges and obstacles in raising their children to be bilingual? RQs #2 and #3 address the ways in which the stories of two groups of Chinese Canadian parents intersect with each other regarding their life experiences and their perceptions of Chinese language education. 1.6 Potential Significance Until the 2000s, scholarship on Chinese language learning in North America focused upon teaching Chinese as a foreign language to English speakers (McGinnis, 2008). 5 This resonates with Curdt-Christiansen and Hancock’s (2014) view of heritage language to some extent: “Heritage language is viewed as a language in motion, a language that meshes constantly with local languages and cultures, that evolves with global sociopolitical changes and is a part of a larger sociocultural system” (p. 2). 10 However, with the rise of China as a global economic powerhouse, and the increasing influx of Chinese immigrants from Mainland China to many parts of the world, and increasing numbers of non-native speakers of Chinese now studying or living in Chinese-speaking environments as well, CHL has become an increasingly popular topic of inquiry in applied linguistics and language education since 2000 (Curdt-Christiansen & Hancock, 2014). These studies include Chinese language ideologies and learners’ socialization in communities and home environments (e.g., Chik, 2010; Curdt-Christiansen, 2003, 2009, 2014; Duff & Li, 2014; Jia, 2008; D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014; Tse, 2001a; W. Li & Zhu, 2014; W. Li & Wu, 2008), parents’ (and grandparents’) investment and practices in their children’s CHL learning (Curdt-Christiansen, 2014; Lao, 2004; G. Li, 2006a, 2006c, 2007, 2010; Xiao, 2008), learners’ attitudes and motivations in CHL learning (e.g., Dai & Zhang, 2008; Lu & Li, 2008; G. Li, 2013), identity formation and heterogeneity of CHL learners (e.g., Francis, Mau, & Archer, 2014; He, 2006, 2008b; Kelleher, 2008; D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014; Tse, 2000a; Wiley et al., 2008), curriculum, pedagogies and issues of Chinese heritage language schools in North America and Europe (e.g., Chiu, 2011; Hancock, 2014; Jiang, 2010; M. Li, 2005; J. Li & Juffermans, 2014; Lü, 2014), and Chinese language programs within mainstream curriculum in Asia and Australia (e.g., Chen & Zhang, 2014 ; Shouhui & Dongbo, 2014; Kelleher, 2008; Wang, 2014) among many other research foci. Outside of academia, however, the recent rise of China economically and the increasing impact of immigration from Mainland China since 2000 has had different effects. Whereas before the year 2000, the vast majority of ethnic Chinese immigrants to Canada were from locations outside of Mainland China such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, since 2000 the majority of Chinese immigrants to Canada have come from Mainland China (Guo & DeVoretz, 2006). Their increasing presence has reinforced a sense of alarm, expressed in newspaper articles about rising property values and real estate speculation, for instance, that the rising wealth and prosperity of China––through the increasing wealth of immigrants from China––has had a negative impact in Canada (e.g., Bains, 2016; Dmitrieva, 2016). School boards in British Columbia have to some extent tried to meet the demands from the parents’ advocacy group regarding the emerging need for Chinese language education. However, the rationale for this perceived need has varied, with a general emphasis 11 upon the need to prepare English-speaking students for engagement with a globally powerful China (Mandarin for BC Schools, 2008; Woolley, 2009). This perception that Chinese bilingual education is for English speakers has overshadowed any perception of need for public schools to deal with Chinese as a heritage language for children of Mainland Chinese immigrants (See Chapter 2). There has been a large gap in the response of school boards to English-speaking households in contrast to Chinese-speaking ones and a lack of familiarity with successful, more inclusive educational initiatives elsewhere. The differing experiences and language learning challenges of both English- and Chinese-speaking households remains to be accounted for. Moreover, understanding these experiences and challenges only as a recent or new phenomenon is insufficient and potentially misleading. It is crucial to understand Chinese language education today as part of the longer-term historical patterns of Chinese immigrants as Canadians and the continuity of English dominance in Canada. Therefore, while situated in CHL studies, the mainstay of this study is a critical perspective on the dominance of English, which situates language policy, language education and language practice as sites of struggles where power inequalities are produced and reproduced as well as contested and challenged (Blackledge & Creese, 2010; Bourdieu, 1991; Cummins, 2005; Cummins & Danesi, 1990; Cummins et al., 2005; Kubota, 2004, 2014a, 2014b, 2015; Kubota & Lin, 2009; May, 2005, 2014; Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004; Pennycook, 2001, 2008, 2012; Phillipson, 1992; Ricento, 2005, 2013; Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000; Shohamy, 2006; Tollefson, 2000, 2006). 1.7 Structure of the Thesis This study consists of nine chapters. The present chapter outlines the purpose of the study and research questions. Chapter 2 situates this study within the historical continuity of Chinese immigration to British Columbia since the late 18th century, and the continuity of discourses about Chinese as social other even as formal anti-Chinese policies and legislation were abolished in the mid-20th century. Focusing on the long term continuity and consequences of Chinese exclusion helps explain how the introduction of official bilingualism and multiculturalism policy in the 1970s and 1980s in Canada reified the English language dominance that had been a product of anti-Chinese practices, even as multiculturalism as an ideal seemed to repudiate a long history of Chinese exclusion. 12 Chapter 3 outlines the theoretical framework of this study that draws on Bourdieu’s (1977b, 1991) conceptual lens of habitus, capital and field, and introduces the concept of symbolic violence to understand the power of English in Canadian society. In addition, this chapter links Bourdieu’s theoretical constructs with scholarship on heritage language learning (e.g., Dagenais, 2003; Heller, 2000), investment theory (e.g., Norton, 2000), and recent developments in CHL studies with a particular focus on the identity development of CHL learners (e.g., Curdt-Christiansen, 2014; Duff, 2014; Francis et al., 2014; Hancock, 2014; He, 2008b; D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014). Chapter 4 introduces life history research as a methodological approach to this study. After reviewing the definitions of life history research (Goodson & Sikes, 2001), it outlines the rationale for recruiting the 10 participants, the recruitment process, and the context of the semi-structured interviews. This is followed by discussions of how I understand research interviews (Bruner, 1990; Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Duff, 2008a; Holstein & Gubrium, 2004; Talmy, 2010, 2011), the process of transcribing (Duff, 2008a; Ochs, 1979; Silverman, 2000), and analyzing life histories (Bertaux, 1981b). The concept of multiple timescales (Blommaert, 2005) as an analytical method is introduced here. Chapter 5 and 6 respond to Research Question 1 regarding the language learning trajectories of parents who grew up in Canada and their investment in their children’s Chinese language education. Chapter 5 presents the stories of three parents, namely Lily, Emily and Jack (all names in the thesis are pseudonyms), that had a common theme of “being embarrassed for being Chinese” since childhood and how such bodily emotions of shame (Bourdieu, 1991; Duff, 2014) have been reshaped as they became parents. Chapter 6 presents the stories of two parents, namely Joyce and Harry, that shared a theme of “positioning Mandarin speakers as social other” since childhood, and describes how that sense of othering has shaped their investment in their children’s Mandarin language learning. Chapter 7 presents the stories of five Chinese immigrant parents, namely Mia, Oliver, Isabelle, Thomas and Sophia. The main focus of the stories is their desires for their children to learn Chinese, and the challenges and struggles they have experienced in Metro Vancouver to raise their children to be bilingual. Their stories are followed by a cross-group analysis of all of the parents’ investment in their children’s Chinese language learning (Research Question 3). 13 Chapter 8 discusses the recurring problems of CHL education in Canada by comparing the stories of the two groups in response to Research Questions 2 and 3. The discussion focuses on the problems of weekend/afterschool heritage language schools as a matter of the discordance between habitus and field (Section 8.2), and the structural problem of Chinese bilingual programs that segregate native Mandarin speakers and English speakers (Sections 8.3 and 8.4). Finally, Chapter 9 reviews and synthesizes the findings through the historical lens discussed in Chapter 2, and addresses the over-arching research question. This is followed by a discussion of the implications for future research and educational policy. The ultimate goal of this dissertation is to identify the practical changes in language education that are necessary if British Columbia genuinely aspires to benefit from its historical connections to Asia. If British Columbia hopes to become the Asia-Pacific Gateway of Canada (Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, 2016), fundamental changes must be made in terms of how investments are made in linguistic capital and in how educational institutions understand and leverage the individual aspirations of BC residents. Although the ten parents who took part in this study represent only a handful of the larger group of parents who aspire for their children to learn Chinese, the beliefs and feelings that they so powerfully embody need to be better understood because in aggregate their individual practices promise to reshape our society. At this moment in history, their habitus reflect the contradictions and paradoxes of a colonial society that prizes English monolingualism. Our future depends upon finding ways to reshape Chinese language education in a way that builds upon the linguistic capital of our residents rather than destroys it. 14 Chapter 2: Sociohistorical Contexts of Chinese Canadians 2.1 Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to outline three aspects of the sociohistorical contexts of Chinese language education in Metro Vancouver. The first aspect is the long history of Chinese migrants to British Columbia from a critical historical perspective. Here, I focus on the construction of the Chinese as social others in British Columbia since the late 19th century, and how language use became a site of political contestation and exclusion. The second aspect is language policy within Canada including language education in British Columbia, especially within local school boards in the Metro Vancouver region. Here, the focus is on the mythic narrative of the English and French as the two founding member groups of Canada and a description of how this story of the hegemony of the two founding groups continues to affect local language education policies in the 21st century. The third aspect is the debates concerning Chinese-English bilingual education in Metro Vancouver. I discuss two main arenas of public discourse in which these historical and current factors can be seen. One is discussions surrounding the parental advocacy group that initiated the launching of early-start bilingual program in Metro Vancouver. The parents’ discourse regarding the exclusion of Chinese speakers from the program is of particular interest here. The other arena of interest is the public debate observed in local newspaper articles and comments about Chinese language education. 2.2 The “Othering” of Chinese in British Columbia 2.2.1 History of Chinese in British Columbia For thousands of years, before the resettling of what is now called British Columbia by Europeans, Chinese, and other migrants, the region was inhabited by indigenous First Nations. The region was home to 32 indigenous languages and 59 dialects, many of which are nearly extinct today as they have been replaced by the English language through policies such as residential schooling (First People’s Heritage, Language and Culture Council, 2010). If the presence of the English language in British Columbia today seems natural, it is only because English-speaking colonizers ensured that indigenous languages and cultures were nearly eradicated through the Indian Act and systematic policies such as the potlatch ban, the reserve system, residential schooling, and “sweeps” that took aboriginal children away from 15 their parents. Simultaneously, they enacted policies and discourses that alienated and excluded other non-white resettlers6, especially trans-Pacific migrants such as the Chinese, manufacturing the common sense that only white English speakers belonged to this place (Stanley, 2009). The colonization of British Columbia was one of the latest projects of British colonial expansion that had been in process since the 17th century. However, this project entailed a challenge that other colonies in North America located east of British Columbia did not have. Cantonese-speaking migrants from Guangdong province, mostly using the British port of Hong Kong, were also entering the territory at the same time as English-speaking migrants from Europe, the United States, and other British colonies (Meares, 1790/1916). The migration of Cantonese labourers and merchants continued to the early 20th century, and a mixed society was built where First Nations peoples, trans-Pacific migrants from Guangdong, and trans-Atlantic European migrants coexisted for most of British Columbia’s history as a colonial society. But after Dominion in 1867, the rise of anti-Chinese politics resulted in the establishment of a series of laws that disenfranchised the Chinese (P. S. Li, 1998; Stanley, 2009, 2011; Yee, 1988). Following the confederation of British Columbia in 1871, the British Columbia Qualifications of Voters Act passed in 1872 took away the voting rights of Chinese and First Nations people, and the Birth, Death, and Marriages Act prohibited them from registering their birth, death and marriages. Several land-owning regulations were established, and by the mid-1870s, Chinese and First Nations people were barred from pre-empting lands (European settlers were offered the opportunity to receive “free” land claimed to be owned by the Crown, although 98% of British Columbia was never ceded through treaty or war by indigenous First Nations). In concert with the clearing of First Nations from their lands, the framing of settlement in the new nation as the privilege of European migrants became the norm, with Chinese and other non-white migrants the target of racially discriminatory laws. Thousands of Chinese workers were employed as the major labour force for the construction of the western section of Canadian Pacific Railway between 1881 and 1885. 6 I follow Stanley’s and other historians’ usage of “resettler” instead of the more common term “settler” to indicate that anybody other than the First Nation people came to Canada from somewhere else, and therefore “resettled” in Canada. 16 The completion of the railway made possible the mass migration of Europeans from the east coast. Emulating the popular success of anti-Chinese politics in other regions of the west coast of North America, in particular in California in the 1870s, the increasing number of British and other European migrants arriving in British Columbia after the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway fostered political movements built around anti-Chinese restrictions (Yu, 2008). The federal government responded with a Royal Commission, which agreed with the rhetoric of anti-Chinese agitators that Chinese workers would take away jobs from European immigrants, despite the fact that Chinese workers had predated most European workers in British Columbia before the completion of the railway. The federal parliament passed the Chinese Immigration Act in 1885 that imposed a head tax on Chinese immigrants entering the country, following the example of the anti-Chinese poll tax in New Zealand of 1881. In 1885, anti-Chinese riots took place in Vancouver, and Chinese workers were forcibly driven away from the city by white mobs. They were only able to resettle in the places that were not valued by the white settlers and ended up resettling at the northern end of False Creek, which became the Vancouver Chinatown (K. Anderson, 1991). Anti-Asian politics reached a crescendo of violence in 1907 when the Asiatic Exclusion League and Vancouver labour unions organized a riot that attacked Chinatown and Japan Town. Rallying around slogans proclaiming a “White Man’s Province” and “White Canada Forever,” the riot resulted in anti-Asian legislation in 1908 that curbed Japanese and East Indian migration to Canada, continuing through the subsequent decades until the federal parliament passed the Chinese Immigration Act in 1923, also known as the “exclusion” act, that restricted almost all forms of Chinese immigration to Canada (Ward, 2003). In general, the first half of British Columbia’s history was marked by the coordination of laws that were consistently built around white supremacy, with persistent anti-Chinese and anti-Asian legislation created in concert with foundational acts of national constitution such as the Indian Act designed to create an explicit racial hierarchy in Canada (Backhouse, 1999). 2.2.2 School segregation of Chinese children in British Columbia English-language discourses in North America about civilizational hierarchy in the 19th and early 20th centuries consistently labelled the Chinese as uncivilized and inassimilable heathens (despite a continued desire for Chinese luxury goods such as silk, tea, and Chinese ceramics), reversing a trend in the 18th century when discourses about Chinese 17 civilization commonly contained admiration for the material advancement of Chinese technology.7 Combined with the discourses in British Columbia and other white resettler societies in California and the Australian colonies about Chinese workers as unfair competition for white workers, a common anti-Chinese discourse uniting working-class politics and nation building around white supremacy marked disparate societies shifting from the status of British colonies to new national imaginaries (Lake & Reynolds, 2008; Price, 1974). Such anti-Chinese sentiments were addressed throughout the Report of the 1885 Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration. For example, former Surveyor-General Pearse commented regarding the Chinese immigration to Canada as follows: I object to seeing Chinamen on the land either as owners in fee, or as lessees, for the plain reason that we want here a white men’s community, with civilized habits and religious aspirations, and not a community of “Heathen Chinee” who can never assimilate with us, or do ought to elevate us, and who can be of no possible value to a state in any capacity other than that of drawers of water and hewers of wood. (Canada Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, 1885, p. 97) White supremacist ideals were also carried into educational institutions. Chinese, Japanese, and First Nations adults were barred from voting and becoming school trustees, and their children were segregated from regular classrooms (Ashworth, 1979; Stanley, 2011). First Nations children were sent to residential schools, which became compulsory in 1920. In 1902, Victoria School District separated Chinese Canadian students from the regular classroom at the North Ward School. In 1907, the school board passed a resolution that “no pupils be admitted to the schools until they can so understand the English language as to be amenable to the ordinary regulations and school discipline” (as cited in Stanley, 2011, p. 99). In the following year, they changed the resolution so that only “native-born” students could attend school, even if the non-native-born students spoke English. The school board then opened a school in Chinatown specifically for the native-born Chinese Canadians who met the English requirement level (Wong, 1999). Thus, Chinese who were born outside Canada 7 In addition to the list of Chinese luxury goods that led European explorers to voyages of discovery between the 15th and 18th centuries, see Bodde’s (1948) now-classic essay Chinese Ideas in the West, which outlined the list of European borrowings from China in the 18th century such as the idea of a meritocratic civil service. 18 were not allowed to attend school, even if they learned English. Segregated schooling for Chinese students, and in many cases for Japanese students, was implemented in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia. The official reason may have been to teach them English, but children of non-English-speaking European origins were not subject to segregation. Only non-white, Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, and First Nations students were targeted for segregation. Stanley (2011) argued, Segregated schooling was not only the logical outcome of white supremacist thinking, of racialized assumptions about Chinese and Japanese difference and a way of organizing a racist social geography; it also reinforced racialized difference by putting that difference into effect. In the first place, students in segregated classes were identified as being different. Subsequently, because of poor-quality instruction, they were made more different through the experience of schooling that almost guaranteed they would not adequately learn English or so called Canadian ways. (p. 111) In 1922, as the number of Chinese Canadian students increased, the Victoria School District had to make new arrangements that would completely separate Chinese students from the white students. The newspaper archives and minutes of the Victoria School Board trustee meetings show that the school trustees argued that “segregation would be ‘of great advantage’ to the children involved, ‘as special stress could be put on [the] subjects most needed by them, such as English, etc.’” (Stanley, 2011, p. 2). In addition, many white residents of Victoria claimed that Chinese children were so different from their children (e.g., intellectually, morally, and socially) that they did not belong to British Columbia and public schooling (Lai, 1987; Stanley, 2011; Wong, 1999). The Chinese Canadian students in Victoria reacted to the school board’s decision and organized a strike for a year. Although this strike did not overturn segregated schooling, it pushed the school board to allow English-speaking Chinese children to go back to regular classrooms, but only after being carefully tested. J. M. Campbell, then principal of the North Ward School in 1925, wrote that the “oriental” children born in Victoria were different from those born in the “Orient” because they spoke English very well and were eager to participate in school activities. He commented that they were almost like the white students. Therefore, he wrote, they were “‘promoted’ to classes with ‘white’ students” (Stanley, 2011, p. 226). 19 The implementation of segregation in British Columbia schooling, both for First Nations students in residential schools and for Chinese Canadian students in public schools, created a link between English-language use and racial superiority and between the policy of eradication of First Nations languages and the promotion of English-language use among Chinese in Canada. Although in practice the adoption of the English language did not create formal equality between white and non-white students, the presumption existed that the English language was superior to non-English languages, and this distinction was maintained not only in schools but also in employment and public sites of social interaction.8 2.2.3 The “Chinese as problem” in today’s British Columbia The disenfranchisement of Chinese Canadians ended in 1947. The exclusionary immigration law against the Chinese also ended in 1947, but even after the exclusion was repealed, Chinese immigration was restricted to family reunification. It was not until 1967, after Canadian immigration policy had eliminated “race” and “place of origin” as criteria, that large-scale immigration resumed from Asian countries (P. S. Li, 1998; Yee, 1988). Large-scale migration from Hong Kong and Taiwan began in the 1970s, increased in the 1980s and 1990s from Hong Kong in particular as anxiety rose about the 1997 reversion of Hong Kong from British to Chinese control. Since 2000, however, migration from Mainland China has been the major source of Chinese immigration to British Columbia (and Canada) (Statistics Canada, 2015b). Formally, the anti-Chinese legislation and racial hierarchy built around white supremacy that marked the first half of British Columbia history has been unbuilt. The school segregation, head tax, disenfranchisement, and exclusionary immigration acts against the Chinese people have been left in the past. More than four decades have passed since the declaration of multicultural policy in 1971, and Canada has come to be known for accommodating residents from diverse backgrounds, with limited backlash against non-white migrants in comparison to other countries and a relatively high acceptance of the ideal of multiculturalism (Wong & Guo, 2015). Since 2005, British Columbia has actively positioned itself as the Asia-Pacific gateway of North America, with 8 In 1909, about a hundred Francophones moved from Quebec and Ontario to work for a lumber company. The company was seeking French workers to replace Asian workers to have a white work force. A francophone community in Coquitlam, BC called Maillardville was founded. They built a Catholic Church and French school to maintain their language, culture and religion (Lapointe, 2007). 20 particular emphasis on business with China and India (Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, 2016). Although the primary emphasis is on building infrastructure for goods, the gateway initiatives have now extended to educational programs. One of the priorities is for Canada to gain international recognition as the preferred destination for education. For example, British Columbia signed 12 memorandums of understanding of educational cooperation with China and South Korea in 2008 to help attract students from these countries to study in British Columbia (Government of British Columbia, 2009). However, the challenge of adjustment to the new economic and sociopolitical reality of highly developed Asian economies and British Columbia’s aspirations to become the Asia-Pacific gateway of North America is confounded by a colonial legacy that is still ubiquitous in today’s Vancouver (Stanley, 2009). School segregation that explicitly targets non-white children is over. But the increasing presence of Chinese in Canadian society is still often seen as a problem in the mainstream media. For instance, the rhetoric of “Asian monster houses” and “Hongcouver” in the 1990s reflected discourses of resentment about the wealth of new immigrants, a discourse that returned in 2015, and continues, as Chinese migrants are again blamed for the housing “affordability crisis” and questions are raised about the role of “foreign” investment in real estate with the word “foreign” standing in for “Chinese” (Gillis, Sorensen, & Macdonald, 2016; Gold, 2015). An article in Maclean’s magazine asked if Canadian universities had become “Too Asian” (Findlay & Köhler, 2010). In 2012, a resident of the city of Richmond (a southern suburb of Metro Vancouver), where more than 60% of the population is ethnic Chinese, sought a city ordinance to restrict Chinese-language signage. Hot debates about whether restaurants and other small businesses in Richmond should be forced to have English signage in addition to Chinese were featured in both local and national newspapers (e.g., Todd, 2015b; Hopper, 2014; Matak, 2015). English-language use, a normative condition in British Columbia that took over a century of racially discriminatory legislation and education policy to produce, was the common-sense, “normal” condition of Western Canada that was now being threatened by new Chinese immigrants. The commonality among these incidents was that the Chinese remained the “problem” threatening the normal order in which white English speakers were positioned as natural and neutral, Chinese language use was positioned as un-Canadian and unneighbourly, and using the language without translation for the benefit of English speakers was unfair (Cui, 2015). 21 The history of British Columbia, marked by the long-term, ongoing process of manufacturing English as the neutral norm, has been elided and forgotten. Indeed, the political work of over a century of anti-Asian politics and white supremacy in creating English-language use as a social and political marker of superiority has been relegated to historical irrelevance. However, contemporary hierarchies of language use in British Columbia are the legacy of the province’s history, renewed and reshaped by the global dominance of English. In fact, the global spread of English is also one of the colonial legacies of the British empire (Phillipson, 1992; Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000). Without taking into consideration the genealogy of the contemporary language hierarchies in the historical development of British Columbia, current debates over language use cannot be adequately analyzed or understood. In Chapter 3, I discuss the relationship between the transformation of British Columbia’s policy regarding racial hierarchy and the ongoing anti-Chinese sentiment through Bourdieu’s theoretical lens (1977b). 2.3 Multiculturalism Within a Bilingual Framework For most of Canadian history, until the late 20th century, English-language dominance was both a political policy and a constant implementation as educational practice. In September 1969, the government of Pierre Trudeau enacted the Official Languages Act, which gave equal status to English and French as Canada’s official languages (Department of Justice Canada, 2009). Subsequently, in 1971, Trudeau declared in Parliament that Canada would adopt a multiculturalism policy. He announced, For although there are two official languages, there is no official culture, nor does any ethnic group take precedence over any other. No citizens or group of citizens is other than Canadian, and all should be treated equally. (House of Commons, 1971, p. 8545) Since then, Canada has embraced the ideal of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. But what does it mean to give equal status to all cultures without acknowledging the status of their languages? What are the implications of this policy for language education policies and practices? In particular, how does the acknowledgement of English dominance as a historical legacy that required remedy for Francophone speakers (with the implementation of official bilingualism and, thus, the power of the federal government to enforce bilingualism in the civil service and federal institutions) act in accordance with the lack of acknowledgement of similar or greater effects on other non-English language speakers? 22 2.3.1 The making of official bilingualism In this section, I draw on Haque’s (2005, 2010) work to demonstrate how the adoption of official bilingualism in Canada erased the history of white supremacy at the same time that it reified its effects. By examining the process of public hearings and the reports of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Haque showed how the imagining of two “founding races”—English and French—legitimized the white supremacy of Canadian colonialism, erasing the appropriation of land from First Nations even as it redefined all other “ethnic” immigrants as eventually belonging to one of two language groups, either English or French. In tracing the genealogy of the bilingual policy of Canada in the Official Languages Act in 1969, Haque revealed how the conflation of “founding races” and “founding languages” functioned to reimagine Canada as a white settlers’ country. Despite the diversity within language groups throughout the colonial and national periods of Canadian history, all language communities that did not speak either English or French were generalized as “other ethnic groups” and positioned as secondary to the two founding races. Indigenous languages were treated as “primitive” in contrast with the “modern” English and French, and were excluded from being recognized as the “founding races” of Canada (Haque & Patrick, 2015). The Royal Commission claimed that language was a personal choice; therefore anyone could belong to either of the two dominant linguistic groups as they wished. At the same time, they argued that as a result of linguistic integration, Canada had “two classes of citizens, one consisting of Anglophones of British origin and Francophones of French origin and the other of Anglophones and Francophones of other origins” (as cited in Haque, 2010, p. 272). This matter of personal choice suggested to the authors that this “free choice” resulted in “two classes of citizens”—classes which replicated the original terms of reference divisions with the “two founding races.” On one hand the founding races were now termed the “Anglophones of British origin and Francophones of French origin”, and on the other hand “other ethnic groups” were now termed “Anglophones and Francophones of other origins. . . . In fact, by retaining the division of the two groups in this way, the hierarchy of race and ethnicity had not been eliminated, but rather had been shifted onto a linguistic hierarchy.” (Haque, 2010, p. 273) 23 By reimagining over a century of coercive language policy (such as the elimination of First Nations languages through residential schooling and the suppression of non-English-language use among immigrant children) as “personal choice” and a seemingly natural process of linguistic integration, the Royal Commission relegated all nonofficial language users to relative irrelevance. Multiculturalism would recognize cultural diversity, but linguistic diversity was enshrined as limited to bilingualism. Haque’s (2005, 2010) analysis reconceptualized Canadian bilingual/multicultural policy, capturing how bilingualism helped legitimate the coercive legacies of white supremacy and Anglo superiority in language. Language policy would become the means to solve national problems of cohesion (e.g., the conflicts between Francophones and Anglophones) while reifying existing racial hierarchies. The elevation of the French to equal status with the English through official bilingualism also expanded the privileges of white supremacy and Anglo racial superiority to the pure laine Quebecois9 (as members of one of the two “founding races”), relegating all “other ethnic groups” to secondary status. This is an example of linguicism (Phillipson, 1992; Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000) where language is used as “the means for effecting and maintaining an unequal allocation of power and resources” (Phillipson, 1992, p. 55). 2.3.2 Second language education policy in British Columbia 188.8.131.52 French as a default second language The national bilingual/multicultural policy of Canada has discursively shaped the provincial educational policy of British Columbia (BC). In the preamble of the province’s language policy, it is written that The Government of British Columbia recognizes that the province is culturally, linguistically and economically diverse. A language policy must reflect this diversity and respond to the needs of the community. The Ministry of Education, Skills and Training encourages all students to develop language skills which will assist them to live and function more effectively in British Columbia’s ethno-culturally diverse environment and in a bilingual Canada. (BC Ministry of Education, 1997a, p. 2) The policy of BC emphasizes the value of multilingual resources that reflect the linguistic 9 Pure laine (dyed in the wool) Quebecois refers to Canadians whose ancestors are exclusively French Canadians although there has been political discussion surrounding who is “real” Quebecois (see Ha, 2015). 24 diversity of the community but simultaneously refers to “bilingual Canada” as if two realities existed: multilingualism in BC and bilingualism in Canada (Carr, 2009). BC’s second language education policy reflects this duality (multilingualism and bilingualism) in an interesting way. The BC government requires all students in Grades 5 to 8 to learn a second language. The language curriculum approved by the BC government includes ASL, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Spanish. This diversity of language options is quite impressive, reflecting some of the existing diversity within BC society. However, there is a clause in the policy that says: School boards will choose which second languages will be offered. Core French will be the language offered if the Board of Education does not offer an alternative. (BC Ministry of Education, 1997b) This clause is technically unnecessary because all school boards have the right to choose any of the nine languages. However, in an elusive way, this clause has built a hierarchy between French and other languages: languages other than French are demoted to being an “alternative,” while Core French has been assigned to be the default language to be taught. Indeed, BC policy has followed federal policy in giving special status to French over other languages, including Asian languages, that are not only demographically more common in contemporary BC10 but also have long histories of use that––in the case of Chinese––predate the province’s confederation into Canada. In a manner parallel to the process outlined by Haque (2005, 2010) for the adoption of federal bilingual policy, the province has continued to imagine itself as part of a white settlers’ nation that elides the racial exclusions of its history. In practice, although a wide variety of international languages were included in the BC curriculum, almost all schools selected French as the default language to teach “because it was easier to find staff and materials for French than for other languages” (Duff, 2008b, p. 84) due, in part, to the generous federal financial support for teacher training and material development. In addition, school boards in BC offer very few bilingual programs in languages other than French compared to the United States or many other parts of Canada. The discourse of official bilingualism shaped BC educational policy in according French special status and creating a linguistic hierarchy of English and French above other 10 Based on Census Canada 2011, there were 347,345 Chinese speakers and 182,915 Punjabi speakers, while there were only 57,275 French speakers in BC (Statistics Canada, 2012). 25 languages. In addition, because of the official bilingualism, French has been given more funding and professional development support from the federal government (BC Ministry of Education, 2013). It seems that the long legacy of Asian exclusion and Anglo superiority in BC has been reinforced by the policy of official bilingualism and its practical implications. 184.108.40.206 Target population for early-start Chinese education The School Board of Edmonton (Alberta) provides early bilingual education programs in seven languages: Arabic, ASL, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Hebrew, Spanish, and Ukrainian. The early Mandarin bilingual program has been running for over 25 years. There are 12 schools (five elementary, four middle, and three high schools) that run the program, with around 2,000 students enrolled in 2013 (Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Association, 2013). In contrast, in Metro Vancouver, until recently Mandarin had been only taught as a second language from Grades 5 to 12, mostly starting from Grade 9, at a very limited number of schools. There was only one school in Vancouver that was originally labeled as a Mandarin bilingual program, offered from Grades 4 to 7, but in reality Mandarin is now only taught in a Language Arts class. Despite the diversity of languages brought to and spoken in Vancouver through the long history of Chinese immigration (e.g., Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese), there has been no strategic plan or policy to enhance or retain such multilingual resources within public schooling. However, strong lobbying from a parents’ group led to the establishment of early-start Chinese programs in several school districts in Metro Vancouver (see next section for the genesis of the parental movement). In 2010, the Coquitlam School Board in Metro Vancouver launched an early-start Chinese bilingual program. The Burnaby School Board in Metro Vancouver also started a Chinese language arts program where students receive Mandarin as a component of language arts approximately 150 minutes per week starting from kindergarten. In 2011, the Vancouver School Board launched an early-start Chinese bilingual program. The program guidelines of these programs offer important perspectives on who is entitled to learn Chinese. For example, when the program launched, the Burnaby School Board website had a “what’s new” corner where the school board described its program in the following way: In the Fall of 2010 the District will be offering a new Mandarin Language Arts Program for students entering kindergarten and grade 1. This program is designed for 26 students whose first language is not Mandarin. (Burnaby School District 41 Board of Education, 2010a) On another page that appears after clicking the “for more information” button, the school board claims, The program is designed for students who: ¨ Have strong English oral language skills ¨ Will be entering kindergarten or grade 1 in September 2010 (Burnaby School District 41 Board of Education, 2010b) On the one hand, students whose first language is Mandarin are excluded from the program. On the other hand, students whose oral English skills are not strong enough are excluded from the program as well. After 6 years, the “what’s new” corner no longer exists, and the line that says “whose first language is not Mandarin” has been taken out. However, in the updated program description, they added a new phrase that the program “is an enriching and rewarding opportunity for students to celebrate and appreciate an additional language and culture” (Burnaby School District 41 Board of Education, 2016). By using the term “additional,” together with the phrase “the program is designed for students who have strong English language skills,” which they did not eliminate, the program guideline suggests that the program is not for Mandarin first-language students. Subsequently, the Vancouver School Board launched an early-start Mandarin bilingual program in Fall 2011. The school board set the guidelines for program registration as follows: Any child who has little or no prior knowledge of Mandarin, who is a resident of Vancouver, and who is entering Kindergarten or grade one is eligible for the Early Mandarin Bilingual program. It is important that the students entering the program have adequate English skills since the program will be taught 50% in Mandarin and 50% in English. (Vancouver School Board, 2010) Similar to the Burnaby program, the Vancouver School Board described the condition of “no prior knowledge of Mandarin” first. Then, it mentioned the necessity of having adequate English proficiency. They claimed that the reason to have English-language skills is because the program will be run 50% in Mandarin and 50% in English. This logic is puzzling in two 27 ways. First, if 50% of English instruction is the reason to have strong English-language skills, then why is it necessary that children without English-language skills go to regular English-only schools? Second, if 50% of English instruction is a sufficient reason to require English-language skills, why is it that those who have Mandarin-language skills are excluded from the program even though 50% of the instruction will be conducted in Mandarin? More than five years have passed since the launch of the program, and the program guideline has been slightly modified. Similar to the Burnaby program, they got rid of the “no prior knowledge of Mandarin” phrase. As of July 2016, the guideline says, “the day is structured to allow 50% of time to be in Mandarin: Mandarin Language Arts, Music, Physical Education, and Career and Personal Planning. The program is intended for children who have fluency in English.” In addition, it says, “applicants will be notified as to placement in February. All students are required to participate in an English Language Proficiency assessment, as this program is for children who have fluency in English. The assessment occurs in February prior to confirmation of placement” (Vancouver School Board, 2016). The guidelines of the two programs in Metro Vancouver show that only English speakers at the age of 5 are given access to Mandarin and the opportunity to gain more linguistic capital. Speaking English at the age of 4 or 5 normally means that one of the child’s parents speak English at home. This excludes many immigrant families where the language spoken at home is not English. Only Anglophones and those who stopped using their heritage languages at home (“the Anglophones of other origins”) are perceived as the ideal language learners for early Mandarin instruction. The Mandarin bilingual program in Coquitlam is in stark contrast to the two programs. The program guideline says, Regardless of their first language, the program offers all students the possibility of completing fifty percent of the prescribed B.C. curriculum in Mandarin (Mandarin Language Arts, Math, Health and Career, and P.E.) and 50 per cent [sic] of the prescribed B.C. curriculum in English (English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies and Fine Arts). (Coquitlam School District 43, 2016) However, there is also a line that says, “Students develop their knowledge of other cultures.” Whether this implies Chinese cultures as “other” for the students or simply means diverse 28 cultures is unknown. Nevertheless, having no requirements for English fluency is encouraging as it shows it is possible to have a Mandarin bilingual program that includes Mandarin speakers.11 2.4 Debates over Chinese Bilingual Education in Metro Vancouver Strangely enough, the exclusion of Mandarin speakers and English as an Additional Language (EAL) students from language programs is not unique to the school boards. It resonates with the local discourses of the parents’ group advocating for Mandarin bilingual education, as well as the public debates seen in newspapers. In this section, I briefly sketch the debates regarding Chinese bilingual education in Metro Vancouver. 2.4.1 Parental advocacy for early-start Chinese bilingual program 220.127.116.11 Overview of the movement In spring 2008, a group of parents in Vancouver and North Vancouver formed an organization called Mandarin for BC Schools to advocate for early-childhood Mandarin bilingual education in the public school system. The group organized within various areas of Metro Vancouver, with separate chapters representing Vancouver, North Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Burnaby, and Richmond. The group initially advocated for adapting the Edmonton bilingual program model as one of the best-practice models at the beginning of the movement. The Edmonton model evolved over two and a half decades of its existence, but in general it was structured as a two-way bilingual immersion model, with 50% of the school subjects (such as math, physical education, or language arts) taught in Mandarin and the other 50% (such as social studies and history) taught in English. Although the program initially started as a heritage-language program for Cantonese speakers, the Edmonton model came to accommodate students from various backgrounds, with high success reported in the acquisition of both languages among students. A study by J. Wu (2005) showed that the students acquired high command of both English and Mandarin regardless of their background, even if they spoke neither English nor Mandarin when they entered the school. 11 One could speculate that the fact that the Coquitlam bilingual program has been partly funded by the Confucius Institute, an educational institute affiliated with the Chinese government with its mission to promote Chinese language and culture (Steffenhagen, 2012), is related to the difference in the policy from the other two programs in Metro Vancouver. Further research is necessary to understand the reasons behind the difference in the programs. 29 In addition, the students’ performance in the Provincial Achievement Tests of Alberta (all of the achievement tests were in English) showed that the average score of the students from the Mandarin bilingual program was higher than the provincial and the school district average. In 2008, parents’ advocacy in Vancouver for early-start Mandarin bilingual education received widespread attention from both English and Chinese media. Chinese media reported the news as a great opportunity for ethnic Chinese children to maintain and enhance their Mandarin proficiency (e.g., “90 jianting,” 2008; “Rexin,” 2008). However, as the movement gained momentum, the parents of Mandarin for BC Schools headed in a different direction from those in Edmonton: they decided to exclude Chinese speakers from the movement. 18.104.22.168 Advocating for an English speakers-only program Initially, some of the parents in the Mandarin for BC Schools movement were Mandarin speakers. By Mandarin speakers, I mean parents who immigrated from Mainland China and who spoke English as an additional language. However, as it became clearer that the leaders of the movement, who were all parents who spoke English predominantly and were pursuing a program that was aimed primarily for children who spoke English as their first language (i.e., their own children), several Mandarin-speaking parents began to question why their children would not be included. The desire of Mandarin-speaking parents for bilingual Mandarin/English education for their children was a featured part of a story broadcast by local Mandarin television news (Din, 2008). In this news story, Chinese speakers argued that attending heritage-language schools once a week was not sufficient to maintain and develop their children’s Mandarin ability and that their children needed bilingual Mandarin/English classes as much as English-speaking children. When asked in English by the Chinese news reporter about the rationale for a target population only of non-Mandarin speaking children, one of the English-speaking leaders of the parents’ group explained: The reason for why the proposal has been for English-speaking children is because the Vancouver School Board does desire that the children have strong English skills for learning second languages. So this program is actually for Mandarin as a second language, not for primarily Mandarin for first language speakers. That’s not to say that Mandarin speaking parents can’t organize themselves together, and ask for a different program similar to ours. (Din, 2008) 30 The first sentence (“The reason for why . . . second languages”) and the second sentence (“So this program . . . first language speakers”) are connected with the conjunction “so,” presumably indicating cause and effect with the first sentence being the reason the decision has been made—that is, the program is not for Mandarin speaking children. However, the fact that second language learners are required to have strong English skills does not necessitate the exclusion of Mandarin speaking children from the program. They could, in practice, have strong English skills as bilingual speakers growing up in Canada. Relatedly, the statement that a student learning Mandarin should be able to speak English does not mean that the program has to be a “Mandarin as a second language” (MSL) program, a clever play on “English as a second language” (ESL) that implies that the program is not for ESL learners but for MSL learners. The final sentence (“That is not to say . . .”) is telling, clearly revealing that Mandarin speaking parents were the unwelcomed “other” within this initiative; they should organize something different for themselves that is similar to “ours.” Here, the English requirement as the minimum for learning a second language is used to establish a dichotomy between English speakers and Mandarin speakers. The two groups are mutually exclusive. The possibility that speakers of both languages can learn together is discursively excluded and categorically impossible. This was despite the fact that representatives from the Edmonton program had visited Vancouver and had clearly explained to the parents the long-standing admission of both Chinese and non-Chinese speaking children in their program and how the presence of Mandarin speaking children had not been detrimental but, indeed, had been pedagogically useful (Lindholm-Leary, 2011; Wong & Yee, 2008). This discursive othering of Chinese speakers by the parents’ group is also present in other sites. For example, the FAQ corner of the parents’ website (Mandarin for BC Schools, 2008) represents what the parents’ group anticipated as important questions to answer surrounding their initiative. The FAQ is presented in dialogic form as a series of 12 questions and answers between the questioner and the responder. For example; 1. What are the subjects to be taught in Mandarin [Response] In Edmonton's example; Math, Phys Ed, Language Arts could be taught in Mandarin, History, Social Studies, Geography could be taught in English. In a BILINGUAL program, 50% of the subject matter is taught in the target language and 31 the remaining in English. This ensures that students attain and maintain a high level command of English as well as the target language. (see Appendix for a full version of FAQ). Here, the responder is positioned rhetorically as a knowledgeable expert on the topic, revealing expertise through the unfolding of this range of sample questions with the dialogue presented as an open arena answering questions from any source. Throughout the responses to the first ten questions, the B.C. parents’ group constructs positive images of bilingual education as a feasible program that leads to high-level command of both English and Mandarin and wider learning opportunities. First, the parents’ group positions the Edmonton bilingual program as an ideal example. The Edmonton program is presented as a model that enables the students to gain and maintain high levels of both English and Mandarin. Then, the parents’ group claims that Edmonton is happy to share their curriculum, suggesting the feasibility of quickly implementing existing curriculum without having to create it from the scratch. The parents’ group further advocates that bilingual programs expand the opportunities and varieties of learning, showing that in the Edmonton model, it is even possible to become trilingual in English, Mandarin, and French. However, in Question 11, it turns out that the program is not inclusive for everyone but only open to English-speaking households, as it states that “the purpose of this Mandarin bilingual program is to give interested students from English-speaking backgrounds to gain language proficiency an opportunity [sic] that they would not otherwise have.” The parents’ group further claims in Question 12 that the bilingual program would not appeal to Chinese speakers because they would want to learn English. 12. What if the program is overwhelmed with applications from students with Mandarin speaking backgrounds? [Response] The reality is that this program would most appeal to students from English-speaking backgrounds. Students from Mandarin-speaking backgrounds would most likely be seeking enrolment in English kindergarten/Grade 1 to increase their English fluency. This is proven by the fact that most French immersion students come from English-speaking backgrounds. In the future, if space and staffing permits, students with Chinese-speaking backgrounds could enter the program at various 32 feeder points depending on their abilities (to be assessed by teachers). (Mandarin for BC Schools, 2008) The question highlights a sense of fear by a potential applicant that the students of Mandarin-speaking background would dominate the program. The parents’ group does not repeat the claim it made in the response to Question 11 (i.e., “the purpose of this Mandarin bilingual program is to give interested students from English-speaking backgrounds to gain language proficiency an opportunity [sic] that they would not otherwise have.”). Instead, the parents group uses the lack of English skills of the Mandarin speakers as the reason not to include Mandarin speakers in the program. Framing it this way, as if Mandarin speakers would naturally be seeking placement in English-only programs, attributes the exclusion of Mandarin speakers to their desire to be in other English-only programs. There is also the implication that this imputed desire to learn English should be their first priority and should be pursued apart from the English-speaking children who want to learn Mandarin. There is an unstated assumption that Mandarin speakers should, and must, learn English first (with the possibility that they could then join the program later).12 But as we saw in the news story in the previous section, it was clear that many parents from Mandarin-speaking households did want to have their children enrol in the proposed Mandarin bilingual program, and they did not see their desires for their children to learn English to be in conflict with their children’s entry into the Mandarin-English bilingual program. Despite the fact that students learn both languages in the Edmonton bilingual program, that crucial feature of the program was explicitly ignored when the parents’ group referred to the Mandarin speakers. There was an ongoing conflation of Mandarin and Chinese in their argument, with all Chinese speakers generalized into one group as those who are not entitled to learn Mandarin in kindergarten/Grade 1 but who may be allowed to join after several years of learning English. This argument also reproduced the fallacy of language learning that English-only instruction is the best option for children with limited English proficiency, even though decades of research has shown that learning English while maintaining and improving one’s mother tongue is more beneficial (e.g., Cummins, 2001, 12 At the parents’ information session I attended, it was clear that the leader of the parents group consulted with the School Board, and after the consultation, the parents’ group decided to push for Mandarin as a second language program for children who are fluent in English. 33 2005; Cummins & Danesi, 1990; De Jong & Howard, 2009; Marian et al., 2013). In summary, the English-speaking parents leading the BC Parents for Mandarin initiative framed Mandarin language learning as added value for English speakers, creating an idealized bilingual Mandarin/English speaker whose primary language is English. At the same time, they carefully excluded from the proposed program any kindergarten-age children whose primary language was Chinese. Despite the tremendous difference in the dialects of Cantonese and Mandarin, Cantonese speakers were not considered eligible “Mandarin as second language” learners, a category reserved for English-speaking children by the creation of the necessity for “English as second language” learners to first learn English outside of the program. The parents’ discourse reframed Mandarin/English bilingualism not as a desirable goal for all interested Canadians but one limited to English-speaking households. In an odd paradox, the parents’ group positioned Mandarin speakers as the “other” to whom their children would eventually speak someday but who would not be included as a group with which their children should learn. 2.4.2 Public debates on Chinese bilingual education As the parents’ movement gained traction with the local school boards, local newspapers published a number of articles about the proposed Chinese bilingual program. Since most of the articles were also published online, readers were able to leave comments. Although not a representative sample of readers’ opinions as many readers would not care to spend the extra time to comment, these comments provided a revealing illustration of the discourses about second-language learning described in this chapter. The comments responding to an article from the Vancouver Sun, published when one of the school districts of Metro Vancouver announced the launch of their early-start bilingual program (Steffenhagen, 2009), might serve as an illustration for several of the points made in this chapter. The article itself is short, with only minimum information about the school board’s decision to start the Mandarin bilingual program. As of July 2012, three years later, there were 11 comments posted to the article––a relatively small number. But they are nevertheless interesting in how they reflect discursive patterns regarding language use in British Columbia and Canada. Because of the generally dialogic nature of the comment thread (e.g., each reader responding to the previous comments of other readers), I have preserved the order in which they appeared (e.g., if one is a response to another), beginning with the most negative 34 comments. Whether supportive or not of the program, however, the remarks in general illustrate the contours of discourses about language learning in British Columbia. All misspellings in the comments have been left as they were written. 22.214.171.124 Negative reactions Excerpt 2.1 how sad . . . our country is french and english and now we train our young to speak another language especially when i can be reasonably positive that these students nor their parents speak an adequate level of basic english. (Wall e) Excerpt 2.2 this is terrible news and very insulting towards me and towards Canada. This is a multi-culturual country, yes, but NOT A CHINESE ONE! The NATIONAL languages of Canada are English and French, and that is it. (mare) The first comment, by Wall e, that “our country is french and english,” is straightforward in reflecting over four decades of bilingual policy. What is interesting is how this is tied to a statement that he or she can be “reasonably positive” that neither “these students nor their parents speak an adequate level of basic English.” The broad assumption that any student interested in speaking Chinese must be from a non-English-speaking background did not in fact correspond with the majority of the families in the BC Parents for Mandarin group (the parents were overwhelmingly English speakers, as noted above). However, the assumption within the comment that anyone wanting to speak Chinese must be Chinese is clear. The “official languages” of Canada are threatened by any attempt to allow Canadians to speak other languages, let alone teach or learn them. The prima facie truth of this threat is unquestioned in Mare’s comment as well. Similar to Wall e, Mare is strongly against Chinese bilingual education based upon the rationale that allowing the teaching of Chinese undermines official English/French bilingualism and is equivalent to making Canada a “Chinese” country. Excerpt 2.3 I cant believe my taxes are going to pay for a language that is not a native one of the country. If you want to speak mandarin goto china . . . in canada you learn english but can take it as an elective. Canada is a weak country with no backbone to allow 35 something like this. Believe it or not this is a type of racism. What about all the other nationalities that come here are we going to have an immersion program for them too? (I am an immigrant too) Those who belive Canada is a melting pot of nationalities is very misled and has never been out of the Metro Vancouver and Toronto areas. Anywhere outside these cities is mostly white native canadians and aboriginal peoples. (bman) Even when the commentator does not specifically refer to Canada’s bilingual policy, a discourse of national belonging centered on language use is clear. In contrast to mare, bman dismisses the demographic reality of multiculturalism, claiming that outside of the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, the country is “white native canadians” and “aboriginal people.” Bman asserts that the language “native” to Canada is English, acknowledging the existence of “aboriginal” peoples, even as the use of the term “native” for English-speakers suggests that white Canadians are as “native” as those who are aboriginal. The colonial appropriation of aboriginal title and privileges––discursively accomplished with granting white Canadians “native” status––certainly ignores the long history of the suppression of First Nations languages, let alone the seizure of land and resources. But perhaps more pertinent to this chapter’s argument, it also establishes the English language as having a prior “native” existence (rather than, for instance, the historical perspective argued in this chapter, that English language dominance still requires a continual and ongoing process of the suppression of other languages). With this rhetorical alchemy of making the “native” out of the non-native, the ongoing process of suppressing languages other than English and French is justified not as an ongoing element of a longer historical process but as a burgeoning threat to the “reality” of an already accomplished “native white” Canada. In many ways, bman’s comments illustrate how bilingual policy merely added French to the long-standing use of English dominance in Canadian nation building and white supremacy. If we were to add the phrase “and French” every time bman used the term “English,” the narrative of a “native white Canada” belonging to the “founding races” would create minimal change discursively. The introduction of Chinese language learning threatens the nation by allowing those who speak other languages to retain them. What is remarkable is how bman appeals to the discourses of antiracism, claiming that this threat to “native Canada,” through allowing “immigrants” to make English language use “elective,” was a 36 form of “racism” in itself. For bman, allowing Chinese immigrants to retain their language while compelling other immigrants to lose their languages, strangely enough, is a form of “racism” (whether it is against those who already speak English or other migrants who still do not speak English is unclear). All should be made to learn English, without exception. Over a century and a half of English-language policies and racial hierarchies that discriminated against non-whites who did not speak “proper English” is constructed as the foundation of “native” Canada, and the threat from Chinese to “native white Canadians” is turned in a phrase to become a new form of “racism.” The discourse of English/French official bilingualism in shaping the learning of other languages is perhaps most substantively illustrated in Astarte’s comment below, which explicates the consequences for the funding of language learning if languages other than French are taught in BC. Excerpt 2.4 Here are my concerns about a Mandarin Immersion Program: a) Children learning French (which is mandatory and our other national language) in Elementary and Middle school are being generally taught by teachers who do not speak the language. In many cases the teachers do not even have grade 12 French. We need to look at ensuring that the language programs that already exist are being staffed and funded properly. b) Coquitlam13 has a 2 million budget shortfall this year (2009/10), how can they afford to fund this program while at the same time cutting basic services? (astarte) Asserting a zero-sum game in which the total funding for language learning is in fact shrinking with budget deficits, Astarte does not dismiss the teaching of Chinese with the same directness as the other commentators, only asserting that the teaching of French is done poorly and requires more funding.14 Grounded in official bilingualism and the necessity of learning the national language of French, any use of resources for teaching languages other than French is inappropriate and further undermines an already ineffective system. Even as Astarte rhetorically appeals to practical considerations, any question about why British Columbia, with its minute number of Francophone speakers, struggles to find French teachers and whether it makes practical sense to allocate scarce resources to teaching a 13 A neighbouring school district that had just implemented a Mandarin-English bilingual program. 37 language so ineffectively is obviated by the discursive commitment to official bilingualism and the status of French as a national language. 126.96.36.199 Optimism The three comments that expressed positive opinions about the program were each revealing about larger discourses about multilingualism within BC and the rhetorical use of practicality and a future “reality” where Mandarin was going to be needed: Excerpt 2.5 This is wonderful news! We need to prepare our kids for the reality that will be their future! (jana) Jana’s assertion that Mandarin is the language of the “future”––a relatively novel discourse that arose in BC only in the first decade of the 21st century––and that English-speaking children needed to be prepared for the coming “reality” echoed the narratives used by the BC Parents for Mandarin group to advocate for the Mandarin bilingual program. Presumably, this comment was written by one of the parents in the group. Perhaps, the rise of this discourse––perhaps best captured in a special issue of the Globe and Mail on October 23, 2004, titled “China Rising,” which featured a headline written in Chinese characters with English text reading, “If you can’t read this, better start brushing up”––narrates a fear of illegibility and illiteracy for English language Canadians who are unable to understand Mandarin as China has become a global economic power (Duff et al., 2013; Duff, Anderson, Doherty, & Wang, 2015). What is interesting about this discourse in relation to the discourses about Canada as a bilingual English/French nation is the question of just who is implied by the “we” and “our” pronouns in Jana’s comment. Although the discourse of embracing languages such as Mandarin might seem well intentioned and “progressive” in its rejection of monolingualism, or in questioning the practicality of focusing only on the two official languages of English and French, the assumption of who is naturally being referred to with the pronoun “we” is relatively hidden by this seemingly open embrace. Discursively, the “we,” in fact, maps onto the “white 14 As noted in footnote 14, the Coquitlam program was funded by the Chinese government in the initial setup and continued to receive funding from a Confucius Institute set up in Coquitlam school district (Strandberg, 2015). Therefore, it is not a zero sum game as Astarte argues. 38 native Canada” presumed by the anti-Chinese commentators. English speakers, rather than those Canadians whose mother tongue is a Chinese language (numbering over 1.12 million nationally in the 2011 census according to Statistics Canada (2015a)), are the presumed “we” and the target audience for the new language programs. The bounded borders of the “we” are actually shared by most of the commentators, whether negative or positive, toward the proposed Mandarin bilingual program. For instance, wall e’s comment (Excerpt 2.1), mentioned above, that he or she could “be reasonably positive” that in a Chinese language program neither the “students nor their parents” would “speak an adequate level of basic English,” made explicit the fear that the non-English-speaking other who should be learning better English would be the primary proponent and beneficiary of the proposed program. Indeed, “ms” explicitly counters wall e’s claims by stating, “Many supporters of this program are not immigrants but native born Canadians who speak and write fluent English.” Excerpt 2.6 wall e, how sad that you make comments on those you know nothing about. Many supporters of this program are not immigrants but native born Canadians who speak and write fluent English. Why is it so many are so closed minded about wanting their children to learning new languages be it Mandarin, Spanish, etc. Bman, this is a type of racism? Just because a group has a voice to fight for what they want. If other groups want to do the same then I fully support them. I would simply like to have other options for my children other than French. One of the reason why there is a huge waiting list for French immersion is because that is the ONLY other option for parents. I wonder . . . If this program was offered as another language other than Mandarin would there be such a fuss? (ms) Similarly, the final comment by “I” expresses the idea that the program is intended for English speakers and not for those who already speak Mandarin. Excerpt 2.7 Just as for French Immersion, this program will be offered to children whose first language is English. Children who are fluent in Mandarin would not reap the benefits of this program. Somewhat akin to putting a child whose first language is 39 English is an ESL class. Offering this program is absolutely exciting and will help put our children on equal footing with the rest of the children in the world who are taught a 2nd or 3rd language to a fluent level. (I) This argument parallels both jana and bman’s presumption that Mandarin speakers should primarily be learning only English and should not be provided (in the words of “I”) with the “benefits” of Mandarin instruction. Within the discourse of English/French bilingualism, even if half of the class time in the proposed program is in English, this amount of English instruction will not be enough because the other 50% in Mandarin is too much. As “I” provocatively puts it, teaching Mandarin to Mandarin speakers is “akin to putting a child whose first language is English in an ESL class.” The structural equivalence of Mandarin and English instruction in the 50/50 bilingual environment of the bilingual programs in other cities (e.g., the Chinese bilingual program in Edmonton and Calgary, and two-way immersion programs throughout the U.S.)––and the fact that both Mandarin speakers and English speakers would receive the same amount of instruction in each language––is filtered through the discourses of Canadian language policy by both supporters and opponents of the proposed program. The debate over whether Canadians should speak second languages other than French is limited to English speakers. It is considered unquestionable that 50% Mandarin is too much Mandarin and too little English for children whose first language is Mandarin.15 Both ms’s and I’s comments, rather than countering the nativism presumed in wall e’s comment, in actuality presume the same boundary around who constitutes the “we” of 15 This resonates with the studies on the language education policy and practices in British Columbia (e.g., Carr, 2009; Mady, 2010). The BC government offers an exemption for certain students from taking a second language course. The students who are exempted from the second language course are those who are “receiving English as a Second Language services and [are] unable to demonstrate their learning in relation to the expected learning outcomes of the second language course” (BC Ministry of Education, 1997b). Therefore, the policy does not exclude all EAL (English as an Additional Language) students, but only those who couldn’t demonstrate the expected outcomes. In reality, though, it is often the case that school teachers and administrators exclude many more EAL students (Carr, 2009; Mady, 2010). Both Carr (2009) and Mady (2010) claim that in many cases, the exclusion of EAL students is based on the teachers and schools beliefs about how language should be learned. They believe that one must learn English before starting to learn the second language. 40 Canada, or at least the readership of the Vancouver Sun newspaper. By insisting that the supporters of the program are “native born Canadians who speak and write fluent English,” ms reiterates rather than repudiates the discourse of threat from non-English speakers. As in the discourse of the BC Parents for Mandarin group, the proposed program will avoid the problem of allowing non-English speakers to continue speaking Chinese through the solution of teaching Chinese exclusively to children who are primarily monolingual English speakers. Ms’s questioning of people who are “close-minded” about learning new languages might seem to be a straightforward critique of the policy of English/French official bilingualism, but strangely enough it leaves intact the core assumption that English-speaking Canadians are the normative “we.” Ms says she wants her children to have choices beyond French immersion. Rhetorically, Ms, like bman, alludes to anti-Chinese sentiments and the history of racism when she poses the question, “I wonder . . . If this program was offered as another language other than Mandarin would there be such a fuss?” Ms’s unstated answer seems to tie the denial of the choice of Mandarin to English-speaking children (including ms’s own) to the existence of anti-Chinese discrimination in BC. However, in asserting the privilege of English speakers––but not Mandarin speakers––to enhance their Chinese language abilities, ms helps reinforce the centrality of Anglophone norms. It is striking that the idealism of the supporters of multilingual education, illustrated so well by “I,” hope that proposed programs such as Mandarin bilingual immersion “will help put our children on equal footing with the rest of the children in the world who are taught a 2nd or 3rd language”––an aspiration aimed not at “immigrant” children who are already in practice more likely to be functionally multilingual (and whose non-English language ability should be suppressed through English-only schooling) but at the English-speaking children who have already been so profoundly shaped into monolingual English use. 188.8.131.52 Skepticism The final set of comments illustrates skepticism about the utility of Mandarin in BC, as well as the practical possibility of Mandarin language acquisition that is at odds with both critics and supporters of the proposed program. Interestingly, such comments evince a realism about language use that is in stark contrast to the comments discussed earlier, which in spite of being either negative or positive are more abstractly ideological in 41 narrating which languages should be spoken in Canada. This last set of comments shows a theoretical and practical interpretation of language acquisition that is seemingly grounded in Vancouver and British Columbia’s demography, as well as an understanding of the challenge that many Asian languages present to English-speaking learners. Excerpt 2.8 What’s the point of incorporating Mandarin when the majority of Chinese in Vancouver speak Cantonese? (lllou) Illou questions the teaching of Mandarin not because of its lack of status as an official language of Canada but because Cantonese is spoken more than Mandarin in Vancouver. Illou’s emphasis upon the practical utility of teaching Cantonese as a means for facilitating better communication in Vancouver is striking in comparison to the discourse of “practicality” used by the BC Parents for Mandarin group about Mandarin language acquisition as a tool for international business and the “future” reality of the global rise of the economy of China. Indeed, Illou’s emphasis on both the local context of language use and the linguistic makeup of the community within which students live is almost utterly missing from arguments made in general by the parents advocating for Mandarin instruction. Although it is not clear whether Illou is suggesting that a Cantonese program would allow Anglophones to practice with Cantonese speaking Vancouverites or Cantonese would be a preferred choice of most Chinese speaking households, Illou’s comment stands out in comparison to the discourses about language use shaped by Canadian language policy compared to the lack of narratives about Mandarin language learning that are grounded in the demographics of language use in Vancouver. The practical challenge of Mandarin acquisition for English-language speakers is raised by both “a” and “do be” shown below, who share similar questions about the potential effectiveness of the program. Excerpt 2.9 For the reasons stated, I think it is a good idea to offer a course in Mandarin . . . or in Cantonese or Japanese or Punjabi. However, aside from French, it is too ambitious for public schools to offer another language as an immersion-type program. I think that it is very misleading to promote an “immersion” experience in other languages because the likelihood of students achieving a reasonable measure 42 of conversant and written skills within a classroom—semester environment is not realistic. Parents and students alike will be disappointed when their child does not become fluent during their public school sessions. (a) Excerpt 2.10 You are mistaken if you think that kids will learn Mandarin as quickly and as well as they learn French (and take into consideration that in reality they don’t learn French that quickly, neither that well). Mandarin is a language of considerable difficulty and we cannot expect the same outcomes from Mandarin immersion as we do from FI (French Immersion). Thinking that this will put our students on an equal footing with other students around the world is merely wishful thinking. (do be) Although supportive of multilingualism, they both argue that just having a classroom experience is not enough because Mandarin is such a difficult language for English speakers to learn in comparison to French. In fact, research has shown that it generally requires more hours of instruction for adults English speakers to learn Mandarin (Smith, Chin, Louie, & Makeras, 1993; U.S. Department of State, n.d.). The skepticism evinced by these commentators is insightful, and it is even likely that the comments arise from personal experience or observation. The example used by the BC Parents for Mandarin of the success of the Edmonton public school program also belies such skepticism. The practical difficulty of learning Mandarin, in other words, is also shaped discursively by the poverty of discourses that narrate successful multilingual learning in BC, which itself is reflective of the long-term historical success of English language dominance as a language policy and practice in BC. Perhaps the comment that best illustrates the ambivalence and paradox contained in discourses about non-English language acquisition in British Columbia was made by “the crow”: Excerpt 2.11 how about instead of people having to learn mandarin to do business on the bc coast those people that run business just learn the language spoken on the coast and the country. LOL this is a joke (the crow) 43 At first glance, this statement captures the same sentiments expressed by “wall e,” “mare,” and “bman,” that non-English-language speakers in BC should just learn English. But by using the phrase “people that run business” and then ending with “LOL this is a joke,” the crow introduces the possibility that his/her statement is satire or sarcasm, the common weapon of Internet “trolls” who delight in provoking reactions within discussion boards and comment threads. Is his/her assertion that those who “run business” and who wield economic power should be made to speak English a joke about the futility of the “nativists” such as “wall e” and “mare” in the face of the rising power of Chinese business interests that will someday control BC? The target of the crow’s joke is unclear and most likely deliberately so. Perhaps the joke is on those wanting to do business with the Chinese who think that learning Mandarin will be enough to succeed or whose desire to use language in such a starkly instrumental way is futile. Within the context of the crow’s “joke,” all of the discourses about language learning explicated in this chapter are thrown into question. Bman’s earlier statement (Excerpt 2.3), that “If you want to speak mandarin go to china,” is potentially turned on its head, framed no longer as a straightforward but archaic rallying cry of white supremacy, calling for the Chinese other to “go home” to China, but as a statement both mocking and capturing the aspirations of Mandarin program supporters who dream of their children learning Mandarin and being successful in business in China and in British Columbia. If you want to go to China to do business, or even if you want to stay in BC to do business, learn to speak Mandarin. The utopian future imagined by program supporters and the dystopic future feared by “native white Canadians” are the same future, with each discursively narrating a different practical path for language learning. 2.5 Conclusion More than 20 years ago, Cummins and Danesi (1990) argued, If multilingualism is regarded as a valuable asset both for the individual and for the society, then why do so many Canadians vehemently oppose the teaching of heritage languages? Why do many parents who demand that their children be given the opportunity to become bilingual in French and English protest angrily at the fact that their tax dollars are being used to teach the languages of immigrant children? Why is 44 it appropriate to promote multilingualism in private schools . . . but not in the public school system? Is multilingualism good for the rich but bad for the poor? (p. 2) They further argued, The vehemence of the negative reaction to heritage language instruction in the public school system can be understood in the context of the persistence of Anglo-conformity . . . in the minds and hearts of many Canadians. Thus, while “multiculturalism” contributes as surface veneer to Canadian identity, at a deeper level, in English Canada, identity is still largely rooted in Anglo-conformity. The proclamation of “multiculturalism” as both Canadian policy and Canadian identity, while acting as a catalyst for many worthwhile policies and initiatives, has served to obscure the continuing reality of racist assumptions and traditions among a major segment of the Canadian population. (p. 15) Many years have passed since the exclusion of Chinese students from the public schools in 1907. There have been profound changes brought to Canadian society with the introduction of multiculturalism policy in the 1970s. Immigration from Asian nations has changed the face of British Columbia dramatically since the 1980s. Most notably, in examining the historical and discursive contexts for language learning in British Columbia, the economic rise of China has created new discourses about economic realities and future language needs for English-language speakers. But as Cummins and Danesi (1990) observed more than two decades ago, Canadian society has still not let go of Anglo conformity as the default norm and the boundary around definitions of who “we” are. 45 Chapter 3: Conceptual Lens of Habitus and Field 3.1 Introduction In the previous chapters, I discussed the sociohistorical and political contexts of Chinese language education in British Columbia. From the formation of anti-Chinese legislation in the early 20th century to the bilingual and multicultural legislation in the late 20th century, Canada has changed greatly in how it treats Chinese Canadians in terms of policy. However, I have also discussed how anti-Chinese sentiment is still prevalent in today’s British Columbia despite such policy changes. On the one hand, there is a discontinuity of anti-Chinese policies and law. On the other hand, there is the continuity of anti-Chinese discourse. I turn to Bourdieu’s (1977b) theory of habitus and field as a lens to understand the discordance between policy and discourse. As I discuss in Section 3.3, the significance of the concept of habitus is in its emphasis on the embodiment of social structure. In order to illustrate what an embodiment of social structure means within the context of minority language learning in an English dominant society, I will begin with a personal anecdote about raising my children to speak Japanese in Vancouver. By telling a story about how personal struggles and feelings at an individual level can be refractions of larger social processes, I hope to evoke what is a dominant and recurring theme of this dissertation. Social structures register at multiple levels, ranging from institutional forms such as legislative policy down to the embodied feelings of individuals. The constraining effects of habitus are most powerfully felt, however, not in the abstract rules of law and legislation, but in its affective impact on our emotions and desires. 3.2 Understanding My Experience of Bilingual Parenting through Bourdieu When my first daughter was born, I was determined to speak, read, and write with her exclusively in Japanese and accept her utterances only if she spoke in Japanese, with the hope that she would become fully bilingual in English and Japanese. For about two years, I was quite successful in doing that. I spoke Japanese to her while my husband and other family members spoke English to her. I did not care if there were other people around us who did not understand Japanese; I tried my best to stay with the language. I was determined that I would never let myself drift toward the “easy path” of using English with my daughter. Since I was the person who was taking care of her the majority of time, she had higher 46 proficiency in Japanese than in English. However, the situation changed as soon as she started going to daycare. One day, only a week after starting daycare, she came home and I overheard her speaking English to her stuffed animals. She had been socializing with her English-speaking caregivers and peers for a week and learning a great deal of English as a result. Nothing bothered me at that point. I was even pleased to see her learning so much already. However, the more English she learned, the more I found myself speaking English with her, despite my intention to speak only Japanese.16 As a student of bilingual education for more than 10 years, I should have known better than to drift away from my native language. Many parents and scholars that I know have argued that parents should never give up speaking in the minority language no matter what, and I have advised other parents to stick with their language even if it is very hard to do so. My sister, who has been living in Germany, reminded me that several years ago, when her son was a toddler, she asked me if it was okay to speak in German with her son at the playground. My response was, in Japanese, “no, sister. I know it’s hard but please stick with Japanese.” Yet, here I was, unable to stick to that same disciplined choice for myself and my daughters, despite knowing that scholarly studies (e.g., Saunders, 1988; Takeuchi, 2006) and the practical experiences of fellow parents in similar situations supported the advice I had given to my sister. English slipped out of my mouth before I could think. It was my bodily reaction. I admit that to some extent I felt that I should talk to my daughter in English because it would be more useful to her as she was getting used to daycare, even though I knew that in the long run she would benefit greatly from my speaking to her in Japanese (Cummins, 2001; Oh & Fuligni, 2010). I also worried that people around us felt alienated when I spoke to her in Japanese because they did not understand the language. Once I started speaking to my daughter in English when others were around, I felt relief, mixed with some sense of guilt for giving up Japanese (for more examples of Japanese-speaking mothers’ experience in Canada, see Minami, 2013). I have also found myself switching more often to English at the playground when other parents are around, probably because of the double consciousness that I have always had: looking at the world (and at myself) through the eyes of what I perceived as 16 I have been following the One Parent One Language method that has been commonly used in bilingual parenting, which was first introduced by Dr. Maurice Grammont in 1902. Although the method has been contested recently, it has been advocated as one of the efficient ways to raise bilingual children (Yip & Matthews, 2007). 47 “mainstream Canadians” despite the fact that I am a Japanese immigrant (cf. Du Bois, 1903/2007). I am conscious not only of being different, but of how my difference might be perceived by the “native-born” Canadians around me. I do not want people to think we are immigrants who have never learned English; I want people to think we are trying to belong here and that we have “fit in.” Quite often, when I am at a cash register with my daughters waiting to pay for my groceries, there would be a group of international students speaking Japanese, Korean, Mandarin or Cantonese, discussing in their languages with each other, for example, which bill is the right one to use. I could see the confused face of the cashier and other people lining up. When it is my turn to pay, I would speak English to my kids rather loudly to show everyone around that I am not like “them.” It is even better if I have my own grocery bags to show that I not only speak English to my kids, but I am also environmentally conscious as a Vancouverite.17 I am not like “them” who use plastic bags. I cannot control my behavior even though I know I am doing something wrong. This is definitely not the example I want to show my daughters. Why can’t I be proud of speaking Japanese? Why can’t I speak in Japanese with my daughters AND show my grocery bags? By the time I finish paying for my groceries, items whose names are mixed with Japanese (i.e., Japanese rice, tofu), Chinese (i.e., Chinese broccoli) and the unmarked products (i.e., milk, pasta, chicken, etc.), I feel sad and pathetic. Indeed, trying to fit in by othering East Asian fellow customers has become an unconscious practice, often followed by mixed feelings of regret and superiority, probably a habit that got instilled in me when I lived in Australia as a child. Also, it was connected to my Japanese background in which speaking English was connected to becoming a kokusaijin (international person), which is as white as Japanese can be (Kubota, 1998; Mizuta, 2009). Still, I try to speak Japanese with my daughters when I can, although I speak increasingly more English with her. My agency in speaking exclusively in Japanese is seemingly constrained by social pressure, though no one has ever said anything overtly when I was speaking Japanese. The social pressure is not external, but internal. Who knows what the cashier and the people are really thinking? Maybe it is all in my head that they looked annoyed at the “Asians.” In many cases, I do not consciously make the choice to speak English in a particular moment—it has become a habit, a matter of unconscious reflex since the first step taken down that easy path. 17 Being “green” is one of Vancouverites’ identities, in my view. 48 3.3 Habitus and Field How can I understand my ongoing dilemma with my daughter’s language education? Why is it that I keep failing myself despite all I know about bilingual education studies and all I have been told by my parents and friends about sticking with Japanese? Why do I blame myself that I have not been a responsible parent because I failed to have the discipline to only communicate in Japanese with my daughters? After all, English is my second language, and it requires more effort to speak English than Japanese. Furthermore, nobody told me to speak English to my daughters: My English-speaking husband has been encouraging me to speak to her in Japanese. I should be totally free to make my own choice. Speaking English with my daughters hardly makes any sense. However, if I reflect on my experience through Bourdieu’s (1977b) theory of habitus and field, my failure to speak Japanese to my daughters begins to make sense. For Bourdieu, social structure was not an object that was imposed on human agency, but he understood it as embodied, working in and through our dispositions, namely habitus. This theory was developed in his attempt to overcome “the antinomy of objectivism and subjectivism” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 267). While objectivism as represented in structuralism has argued that the objective social structure is foremost what determines individual agency (if there is any), subjectivism as represented in constructivism has taken “these individual representations as its basis: with Herbert Blumer and Harold Garfinkel, it asserts that social reality is but the sum total of the innumerable acts of interpretation whereby people jointly construct meaningful lines of (inter)action” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 267). However, Bourdieu considered this seemingly antinomic relation between objectivism and subjectivism as dialectic and interlinked with each other: they cannot be understood separately. Thus, he developed the theory of habitus and field. Synthesizing and developing the concept of habitus proposed by scholars such as Norbert Elias and Marcell Mauss (as cited in Reed-Danahay, 200418) through the work of “Hegel, Husserl, Weber, Durkheim” (Bourdieu, 1990b, p. 12), Bourdieu defined habitus as follows: Systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and representations which can be objectively “regulated” and “regular” without in any way being the product of obedience to rules, objectively 18 For a comprehensive review of the history of habitus, see Reed-Danahay (2004). 49 adapted to their goals without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary to attain them and, being all this, collectively orchestrated without being the product of the orchestrating action of a conductor. (Bourdieu, 1977b, p. 72) In other words, habitus is a system of dispositions that functions as a generator of human practice. By dispositions, Bourdieu means a person’s way of living, tastes, characteristics, tendencies, habits, or perceptions. Furthermore, as Reed-Danahay (2004) describes, “for Bourdieu, emotion and feeling are part of the habitus, which is both structured by, and helps structure, systems of power and domination” (p. 102). The dispositions are durable in the way that they are inculcated in the individual’s body as if they were second nature. They are transposable in the way that they generate practices that individuals were not aware of when they initially acquired those dispositions. Bourdieu argues that habitus is created and redefined through the life history of individuals in society as they acquire dispositions in particular fields in which they are positioned. A field can be understood as a structured social arena where individuals are positioned according to the resources, or capital, they have: For Bourdieu (1986), a capital is any resource effective in a given social arena that enables one to appropriate the specific profits arising out of participation and contest in it. Capital comes in three principal species: economic (material and financial assets), cultural (scarce symbolic goods, skills, and titles), and social (resources accrued by virtue of membership in a group). A fourth species, symbolic capital, designates the effects of any form of capital when people do not perceive them as such (as when we attribute lofty moral qualities to members of the upper class as a result of their “donating” time and money to charities). (Wacquant, 2007, p. 268) The different forms of capital are often convertible, or fungible. For example, those who are economically rich are more likely to receive higher education, and thus gain more cultural capital. According to Bourdieu, practice is the product of the recursive relation between habitus and fields where individuals seek and struggle to acquire, maintain, or change the distribution of capital or their positions in the field. Metaphoric terms such as market or game are often used to describe such sites of struggle, with the term market often associated with fields where the economic nature of exchange practices most defines how power and 50 capital are acquired and reproduced. The game metaphor is a telling way of understanding how Bourdieu understands the interplay between habitus, practices, and social hierarchy and often serves as a description of fields where participants consciously or unconsciously accept explicit or implicit rules. In order to win the game, the player needs to have a “feel for the game” (Bourdieu, 1990a, p. 66) as well as skills and abilities. However, such senses and skills are unequally distributed among the players. Habitus in the field can be understood as the feel for the game, and capital in the field can be understood as the skills to play the game. If one possesses habitus that match the field, it is highly likely that person will play better than others in that field. Those who do not have the habitus of the dominant group are likely to accept the social order because the idea that the dominant group is superior is inculcated in their bodies, literally, as the lack of the proper habitus required to play the game successfully. From this viewpoint, my speaking English to my daughters at the playground or the grocery store can be understood as my bodily reaction to the feel for the game. It is an example of myself “submitting … to the dominant judgment, sometimes in internal conflict and division of self, of experiencing the insidious complicity that a body slipping from the control of consciousness and will maintains with the censures inherent to social structures” (Bourdieu, 2001, p. 39). However, at the core of these concepts lies the view of society as a site of “contention, not stasis” and “struggle, not ‘reproduction’” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 265). The field is always contested, and it is possible to change the game. Indeed, in Homo Academicus, Bourdieu (1988) employed the concept of habitus and field to understand the political and academic transformation that happened in the May 1968 riot at Paris University. Just as games in the fields are subject to change, it is important to note that Bourdieu (1977a, 1977b, 1990a, 1991) claims that habitus is neither a static set of dispositions in one’s life, nor is it unchangingly reproduced from one generation to another. This view of continuity and discontinuity of habitus has impacted language socialization theory in understanding how individuals are socialized through language practices (Duff, 2007; Garrett & Baquedano-López, 2002; Ochs & Schieffelin, 2011). He argues that “the habitus, product of history, produces individual and collective practices—more history—in accordance with the schemes generated by history” (Bourdieu, 1990a, p. 54). This historical embeddedness of habitus is crucial. Blommaert (2005) argues, 51 Bourdieu does emphasize the dimension of durability in anything he says about habitus—habitus as a system of perjuring conditions for thought and action, as a sediment of structure in our agency—but he does so within a historical, not a timeless frame. That means he does so within a frame that allows for considerable change, even within the same synchrony since different historically grounded forms of habitus may be involved in the same event. Habitus is durable, but not static. In order to understand this important nuance, we need to turn to Bourdieu—the ethnographer. (p. 222) Although initially fascinated by Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism, it was Bourdieu’s ethnographic experience during his research in colonial Algeria that turned him away from structuralism. He learned that everything had to be understood as a situated practice within the “internal dynamics of social systems” (Blommaert, 2005, p. 227), not within the closed and static structure. He witnessed how dispositions change when the habitus is no longer harmonious with the field. As Wacquant (2007) describes, Habitus is…a principle of both social continuity and discontinuity: continuity because it stores social forces into the individual organism and transports them across time and space; discontinuity because it can be modified through the acquisition of new dispositions and because it can trigger innovation whenever it encounters a social setting discrepant with the setting from which it issues. (p. 268) Let me apply this idea of habitus as historical to understand today’s Vancouver. The increasing presence of ethnic Chinese in the last 30 years has changed the city in profound ways. Chinese Canadians were banned from becoming lawyers and doctors until 1947. Today, the city has many lawyers and doctors who are ethnic Chinese. In many cases, property owners were bound by a covenant that restricted selling houses to the “orientals.” Today, many houses in Vancouver are owned by Chinese Canadians and more recently arrived ethnic Chinese. But these changes have often been witnessed with mixed feelings by the people who claim Vancouver as their own. There were “Hongcouver” debates over the large number of people emigrating from Hong Kong to Canada in the late 1980s; in the 1990s, “Asian monster house” debates over the houses built by Chinese and South Asians that were perceived to ruin the traditional scenery and neighbourhoods of Vancouver; and the University of British Columbia was called the “University of a Billion Chinese,” with the 52 connotation that the university is flooded with too many and too-competitive Chinese students (The Vancouver Sun, 2007). These debates often featured emotionally charged comments and opinions. For example, if Asians built large houses, they have been considered “monstrous” because of their size, revoltingly ugly and ruining the scenery, whereas the enormous mansions built by the English and Scottish have been perceived as “heritage” character homes that needed to be preserved as a neo-Tudor reflection of the history of Vancouver. Their large size was not “monstrous.” Habitus, which includes taste, is a telling way to describe such a contradictory reasoning. What we can see here is the discrepancy between the habitus of some Vancouverites and the changes in the field and capital (e.g., wealthy Chinese bringing in their economic capital, becoming the major developers and consumers of luxury homes and condominiums in the city). I would argue that the analytical power of the concept of habitus and field is that it allows us to understand both reproduction and transformation as temporal states of ongoing struggle and contention. The anti-Chinese sentiment in Vancouver, as well as the changes the city has experienced in the last 30 years, can be understood as the product of the relationship between habitus and fields. 3.4 Language Ideology and Symbolic Violence Language activity is also a form of practice, which is generated through the relation between linguistic habitus and field. Linguistic habitus comprises a system of dispositions, which in relation to the field, generates one’s utterances or expectation of the value of one’s linguistic capital. According to Bourdieu (1977a, 1977b, 1991), language activities can also be understood as economic exchange because all language activities happen in certain fields where some people have more linguistic capital than others. That is, some people can produce or engage in linguistic practices in a way that is highly valued in a particular field, whereas others cannot. The value of one’s linguistic habitus depends on its relation to the officially sanctioned standard language. For a particular language or dialect to be imposed as a legitimate language, it is necessary to have a unified linguistic market in which other languages and dialects are devalued against the legitimate language. To realize such a linguistic market, it is crucial that institutions such as schools and political organizations reproduce the power of dominant language. As a result, certain languages are given legitimacy through shared belief, myth, and misconception by both those who have linguistic 53 capital and those who do not. Indeed, a dominant language is legitimatized through the misrecognition of both the dominant group and the subordinate group. Bourdieu uses the term misrecognition because there is no intrinsic value or superiority in the official language, but individuals are made to believe in its superiority. The symbolic value of the official language is rarely questioned, and it is taken for granted. Bourdieu (1991) argues: The legitimacy of the official language has nothing in common with an explicitly professed, deliberate, and revocable belief, or with an intentional act of accepting a “norm.” It is inscribed, in a practical state, in dispositions which are impalpably inculcated, through a long and slow process of acquisition, by the sanctions of the linguistic market, and which are therefore adjusted, without any cynical calculation or consciously experienced constraint, to the chances of material and symbolic profit which the laws of price formation characteristic of a given market objectively offer to the holders of a given linguistic capital. (p. 51) The legitimacy of a particular language is inculcated in our bodies as we interact in a particular linguistic market. Legitimacy becomes commonsense and perceived as natural. Such perceived natural legitimacy is what Bourdieu calls symbolic power. The legitimization of a certain language, or the creation of standard language, is also a process of normalizing certain linguistic habitus. Bourdieu argues that the dictionary is “the exemplary result” (1991, p. 48) of such normalization of linguistic habitus. He views educational systems as a major mechanism for the “construction, legitimization, and imposition of an official language” (1991, p. 49). By placing a standard form of written language as superior to conversational spoken language and dialects, and by imposing this hierarchy of language use in everyday practices at school, the symbolic power of the standard form will be inscribed in the students of both dominant and dominated groups. Accordingly, students who have the linguistic habitus that matches the standard language will gain more symbolic capital than those who do not. Those who do not have the linguistic habitus that matches with that dominant habitus in the given field will be repeatedly and constantly intimidated through correction. This is a form of symbolic violence, and Bourdieu argues that such feelings of intimidation become inscribed in the linguistic habitus of the subordinate group. The term dominant and dominated may give the impression that his argument of linguistic habitus and capital does not concern today’s Canadian society where 54 class stratification is vague. But as history shows (see Chapter 2), English became one of the official languages of Canada precisely because the British became the dominant group of the society through colonialism. The dominance of English in Canada is a great example of symbolic violence. The dominance of English––the street names in English, the school names in English––became part of the “natural” landscape of Canada, and those who initially did not have the “right” habitus strove to gain it. However, habitus is bodily inscribed dispositions that are durable. For example, habitus endures inside our bodies in the form of accent. Therefore, even though a non-English-speaking person makes the investment to gain the linguistic capital (English), it is not easy, and may be impossible, to qualify from the point of view of dominant society (i.e., unmarked accent). Studies have repeatedly shown that in North America, people who speak English with an accent, typically spoken by non-West Europeans, are discriminated against in the workplace and at school (Blommaert, 2009; Lippi-Green, 2012; Munro, 2003). The Multicultural Policy, the Charter of Human Rights, and other legal agreements declare that Canadian society strives to be a nondiscriminatory society, but discrimination against English with a marked accent has not ended. The symbolic power of language is closely related to the concept of what is called language ideology. A number of studies have focused on language ideologies—the attitudes and beliefs associated with language and language use, and the role and status of language (Blommaert, 1999; Woolard, 1992; Tollefson, 2000)—as constituted by and constitutive of the unequal power relations in the society (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004). However, I must emphasize that Bourdieu tried to move beyond the concept of ideology, especially as the term ideology connotes Marxist structuralism that presupposes the dichotomy between structure and human agency. Indeed, the purpose of developing social constructs of habitus and field was to overcome the antinomy––the opposing beliefs that contradict each other––between objectivism and subjectivism. While ideology in the Marxist tradition can be defined as “false ideas that legitimate a dominant political power” (Eagleton, 1991, p. 1), the term “ideology” has not yet settled with a single definition as Eagleton shows in his at least six different definitions of ideology. An extended concept of Marxist ideology developed by Althusser (1971) did look at how ideological state apparatuses (e.g., school, family, or mass media) influence individual consciousness and thus reproduce power. In fact, Eagleton argues that Althusser’s concept of ideology is not only confined to consciousness but 55 “alludes in the main to our affective, unconscious relations with the world, to the ways in which we are pre-reflectively bound up in social reality” (p. 18). However, as Bourdieu argued in his conversation with Eagleton (Bourdieu & Eagleton, 1992), Bourdieu had deliberately avoided using the term ideology and “tried to substitute concepts like ‘symbolic domination’ or ‘symbolic power’ or ‘symbolic violence’ for the concept of ideology” because the concept of ideology has “very often been misused or used in a vague manner” (p. 111).19 As I agree with Bourdieu’s concern and acknowledge the usefulness of his concepts of symbolic power and violence (when understood together with his concepts of habitus and field), this study was an attempt to analyze Chinese Canadian parents’ stories through Bourdieu’s social constructs while minimizing the use of the term ideology following his footage. While the significance of Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic power is that he noticed the significance of prereflexive bodily reaction in social reproduction, it is crucial that symbolic power is always understood as ethnographic, situated in practice. The symbolic power attached to a particular language is constantly practiced through symbolic violence—“the subtle imposition of systems of meaning that legitimize and thus solidify structures of inequality” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 264)—willingly or unwillingly accepted by the subordinate group. Simultaneously, Wacquant argues, “these hierarchies can be challenged, transformed, and overturned” (p. 264). What lies at the core of Bourdieu’s thought is “contention, not stasis—struggle, not ‘reproduction’” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 265). 3.5 Heritage Language Education through Bourdieu’s Lens Although Bourdieu argues that not all practices are reducible to an economic logic, several scholars (Dagenais, 2003; Heller, 2000; Woolard, 1992) have pointed out that his language theory does not explain in depth why some people learn nonprestigious languages (i.e., heritage languages that are not valued in the mainstream society). Heller (2000) argues that language as a form of symbolic capital not only refers to the power of the dominant language or the economic value of the language, but also to the minority languages through which minority communities strengthen their solidarity and their diasporic identities, capitalize on their hybridity, and resist marginalization. Norton (2000) posits that language 19 In addition, Bourdieu (1992) articulated his problem with “the aristocratic thinking of Althusser” (p. 113) in which “the true knowledge” is only available to theorists (p. 113). 56 learning should be viewed as an investment by learners (or in this case, their parents) in “symbolic and material resources, which will in turn increase the value of their cultural capital” (p.10). In other words, even a minority language that has no institutional power in the society can possess both symbolic and material value for linguistic minorities. I would argue, however, that from my interpretation of Bourdieu, such symbolic value for a minority language does not equate to symbolic capital for the minority language in the same sense as for the dominant language.20 For Bourdieu, symbolic capital and symbolic power always function to maintain the dominance of a particular group. It is important not to confuse this point; minority language as a form of cultural capital does not by itself lead to symbolic power in the dominant market. Using the term symbolic in the heritage language learning context might be somewhat misleading because Bourdieu clearly uses the term when analyzing the maintenance of dominance. However, Norton’s (1997, 2000) concept of investment which drew on Bourdieu’s concept of language and economic exchange enables us to make connections between the linguistic markets of heritage communities and the linguistic market of mainstream society.21 According to Norton, learners’ investment in learning a language is strongly related to the concept of imagined communities and imagined identities. For many learners, the target language community is not only a reconstruction of past communities and historically constituted relationships, but also a community of the imagination, a desired community that offers possibilities for an enhanced range of identity options in the future. An imagined community assumed an imagined identity, and a learner’s investment in the target language can be understood within this context. (Norton & Toohey, 2011, p. 415) As Meredith (2014) posits, “imagined” does not mean that a community or an identity is not “real” but “it extends beyond the here and now to include desired and future identity and community possibilities” (p. 218). 20 Heller (2000) observes for example, in a small town of Southern Ontario, bilingualism is required for “lowest-paid front-line” (p. 12) jobs but it becomes less important in the higher positions. In addition, the variety of French spoken by the local Francophones is not valued by the company because they do not speak standard French. 21 We can add the globalized market to this argument too as English has become the de facto lingua franca in the world while Mandarin has increasingly become more powerful than Cantonese in the global market. 57 Therefore, it might be understood that those who succeed in maintaining their heritage language do so because they perceive the value of the language even within the dominant linguistic market, whether as a way to bolster identity to resist marginalization or to access community networks that require competence in that minority language. In contrast, the failure to maintain one’s heritage language, which has been common in Canada (Cummins & Danesi, 1990; Fillmore, 1996; Guardado, 2002; Kouritzin, 1999; Park, 2013), could be the result of not perceiving the value of the heritage language in the mainstream linguistic market, or perceiving its value to lie only in the nonmainstream heritage linguistic market (such as that of family and relatives and ethnic enclave communities). As a result, the heritage language learner places less value on participating in that heritage linguistic market because the dominant linguistic market (i.e., English) is more important or perceived to be more rewarding for him or her.22 However, such a take on investment positions heritage language learners as if they had control over the decisions they have made. Why, despite my conscious choices to maintain the Japanese language for my daughters, do I keep failing myself? The concept of investment entails a danger to reduce every decision based on desires and conscious choice made by individuals when in fact Bourdieu’s (1991) concept of capital denies the reduction to conscious calculation. As Thompson (1991) elaborates: While agents orient themselves towards specific interests or goals, their action is only rarely the outcome of a conscious deliberation or calculation in which the pros and cons of different strategies are carefully weighed up, their costs and benefits assessed, etc. To view action as the outcome of conscious calculation … is to neglect the fact that, by virtue of the habitus, individuals are already predisposed to act in certain ways, pursue certain goals, avow certain tastes, and so on. (p. 16) While the updated version of investment proposed by Darvin and Norton (2015) includes ideology and habitus as constitutive of investment, it still frames learners’ desire to be part of 22 At the playground where I often take my daughters, located inside the university campus, I see many young children speaking Chinese with each other. At the same time, I hear and read episodes about non-Chinese-speaking people getting angry with those people who are speaking Chinese to each other on the street or on the bus. And as I mentioned earlier, I myself switch to English in public. These phenomena can be explained through Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and field. 58 the “imagined community” as an unproblematic practice that gives learners the agency to negotiate their identity: What learners desire can also be shaped by habitus; however, it is through desire that learners are compelled to act and exercise their agency. Whether it is because learners want to be part of a country or a peer group, to seek romance, or to achieve financial security, learners invest because there is something that they want for themselves. (p. 46) This notion of investment based on an optimistic version of imagined community and desire may explain many kinds of investment. However, does this explain heritage language loss? This is a recurring question that I explored in the analysis of parents’ stories from Chapter 5 onward. 3.6 Identity in Chinese as a Heritage Language (CHL) Several scholars have addressed the importance of identity construction and negotiation, with a particular focus on Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) (Curdt-Christiansen, 2014; Duff, 2014; Francis et al., 2014; Hancock, 2014; He, 2004b, 2008b; D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014; W. Li & Zhu, 2014; Tse, 2000a). For example, He (2008b) “locates identity as the centerpiece rather than the background of heritage language development” (p. 110) and suggests an enrichment hypothesis, multiplicity hypothesis, and transformation hypothesis as the identity dimension of CHL development. The enrichment hypothesis suggests “the degree of success in CHL development correlates positively with the extent to which the learner has created a niche (linguistic, social, cultural) in the English-speaking community” (p. 117). The multiplicity hypothesis suggests “the degree of success in CHL development correlates positively with the ease with which the learner is able to manage differences and discontinuities presented by multiple speech roles in multiple, intersecting communities” (p. 118). Finally, the transformation hypothesis refers to the learner’s motivation to “inherit heritage practices” as well as “transform the speech community” (p. 118). Similarly, the study by Francis et al. (2014) shows that highly motivated CHL learners in Britain were able to tie learning Chinese with their identity as Chinese British. When asked for the reasons to learn Chinese, many CHL learners in their study simply responded that it was because they were Chinese. They also displayed a sense of shame and 59 embarrassment if they failed to learn Chinese as Chinese proficiency was perceived as “the key signifier of Chinese identity” (p. 216). It is interesting to note that these students also tied the importance of knowing Chinese and their identity with their “embodied ‘race’” (p. 213) using the banana metaphor of being yellow outside but white inside. The students understood the intertwining relationship among language, race and identity through normalcy, appropriateness and correctness. Therefore, if you look Chinese, it was important to speak Chinese because it signifies your “‘correct’ ethnic identity” (p. 213). On the other hand, Chinese British youth who had limited Chinese proficiency rooted their Chineseness in their familiarity and affinity with their Chinese cultural practices such as food, family gathering and seasonal festivals, and displayed their hybrid identities as Chinese and British. These students’ accounts of the relationship between language and identity resonate with Ang’s (2001) autobiographical work on her dilemma as Peranakan Chinese23 who did not learn to speak Chinese. As her family migrated to the Netherlands, and later as she moved to Australia, she has suffered from the discrepancy between her perceived identity as Chinese and her multilingual repertoire (i.e., Bahasa Indonesia, Dutch and English) that did not include Chinese. In other words, her multilingual repertoire did not signify her “correct” ethnic identity: therefore she was labeled as “fake Chinese” (p. 30). She maintained that Chineseness should not be essentialized or equated with speaking Chinese but should be seen as a hybrid and complex identity that encompasses transnational identities developed across time and space. Indeed, as case studies of CHL learners show (e.g., D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014), CHL learners in Canada are incredibly diverse in terms of the country of origin, dialects, transnational histories and the language socialization trajectories. Heritage language (HL) learners’ motivation is “inextricably linked with learners’ identities (past, present, and future)” (D. Li & Duff, 2014, p. 233), and learners’ identities “must be seen as dynamic, multiple, situated, and diverse” (D. Li & Duff, 2008, p. 27). D. Li and Duff posit that it is crucial that HL educators understand HL learners’ ambivalence towards their multiple identities and their complicated relationship with the heritage language as a result of their trajectories 23 Peranakan Chinese refers to Chinese descendants who were born and raised in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. 60 related to being positioned favorably or unfavorably by their family, peers, and heritage communities, as well as by the mainstream society. Parents’ investment in their children’s CHL learning also involves issues surrounding identity. Several studies have shown that parents’ desire to pass on the Chinese language was based on the idea that the language is an integral part of their children’s Chinese identity (e.g., Chik, 2010; Curdt-Christiansen, 2003, 2014; Hancock, 2014). Parents in these studies often tied the idea of not speaking Chinese with shame for not being a “real” Chinese (Chik, 2010; Curdt-Christiansen, 2003, 2014; Duff, 2014; Hancock, 2014). Some parents hoped that by knowing Chinese, their children would develop “feelings of affinity toward and acceptance of” their Chinese ethnicity (Chik, 2010, p. 129). However, Chik’s study on Chinese American heritage language learning and loss shows that these desires of parents are often rejected by their children as they insist they are American, not Chinese American, and refuse to learn Chinese despite their parents’ fear that without knowing Chinese, their children will be completely “lost” and become “white” (p. 127). While I agree that identity construction and negotiation are certainly important aspects of heritage language learning, I would argue that Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and field enables us to look beyond the principle that language learning is an investment and identity negotiation that implies some sort of conscious, reflective, interactive and strategic practice. In addition, with the postmodern trend to view identity as fluid, dynamic, hybrid and multiple, there is a danger that we are left with a free-floating, vague idea of identity (Davey, 2009; Speller, 2008). My using English with my children in front of the cashier to fit into Canadian society while othering Japanese, Korean and Chinese students––the racialized others that I belong to––may easily be analyzed as “performing fluid and hybrid identity” as if I were willingly choosing which language to speak from my linguistic repertoire. I may even be celebrated as somebody who is able to “negotiate” her identity depending on the context she is situated in. Such analysis is not only naïve as it overlooks the symbolic violence, but is also offensive. Indeed, Kubota (2014a) warns, “while notions such as hybridity, fluidity, and multiplicity are potentially liberating, they can obscure actual struggles and inequalities” (p. 17). Liberating perhaps for researchers, but not for their subjects who have to experience this every day, everywhere. At least, to me, there is nothing liberating about it because I know by reproducing English dominance, I have undermined 61 who I am and who my daughters could be: quite the opposite of liberating. To avoid falling into such obscurity of inequalities, I take Davey’s (2009) suggestion of looking at identity through the lens of habitus: If habitus is to be of most use, then, it is in reminding us of the subjective dimension of social class, as individuals’ embodiment of structures beyond the labels affixed to them. It is here we see most clearly the distinction between what habitus offers and the more agency-focused concept of “identity.”. . . In giving primacy to active identity construction we risk attributing too great a capacity to agency, as if individuals are free to try out different identities. Habitus fastens the subject more firmly to social structures, and habitus can be seen as generating classed practices linked to where groups of individuals are positioned through similar stocks of economic, cultural and social capital. (p. 287) However, this is not to say that our identity is fixed, and that our future is limited to fate. As I mentioned earlier, habitus is subject to change and transformation as we face discordance with the new field throughout our life. However, the concept of habitus brings the importance of historical continuity to the idea of identity. Speller (2008) describes the relationship between habitus and identity as follows: We need not fall from the false tangibility or substantialism of the biographical illusion into a vague post-modern notion of “fluid identity.” Bourdieu’s theory of habitus explains the continuity through change and change through continuity that best describes the transformations that occur as agents travel along their social trajectories––understood as a series of positions successively occupied by the same agent in social space . . . . As our positions change, as we ‘socially age’ (an aging which inevitably accompanies but is relatively independent of biological aging), we develop different interests, lifestyles and consumer practices, even manners of speech and dress. In short, we conform to the social and economic conditions that correspond to each position on our trajectory. There is continuity, however, that runs through all our position-takings, although it is not the same as a consciously adhered to rule or intention. The embodiment of our social position, our habitus tends to reproduce the conditions in 62 which it was produced through its actions, adjusting our expectations, tastes, ambitions, sympathies and antipathies to our life chances and opportunities. (pp. 2-3) I believe the interrelations among habitus, capital and field adds further insight to our understanding of the difficulty of developing one’s heritage language within particular fields where the hierarchies of historical language dominance have shaped the embodied dispositions of individuals, such as is illustrated by my narrative about my daughters illustrates. Therefore, in my study, I looked for a research method that could capture the continuity and discontinuity of one’s habitus and its relationship with capital and symbolic violence in the field in which one is positioned. In the following chapter, I discuss the methodological approach of this study, namely life history research. 63 Chapter 4: Methodology Research—like life—is a contradictory, messy affair. Only on the pages of “how-to-do-it” research methods texts or in the classrooms of research methods courses can it be sorted out into linear stages, clear protocols, and firm principles. (Plummer, 2011, p. 195) 4.1 Introduction This dissertation is a multiple case study of the life histories of Chinese Canadians’ struggles, resistance, aspirations and dilemmas regarding learning Chinese and passing on the language to the next generation. The cases consist of 10 parents from two groups of Chinese Canadians who reside in Metro Vancouver: the first group consists of parents who were either born in Canada or immigrated before the age of 4, and the second group consists of parents who immigrated to Canada in their adulthood from Mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. All participants are parents with aspirations and desires for their children to learn Chinese languages, whether Mandarin, Cantonese or Taiwanese. Parents in the first group share a similar linguistic background in that they all speak English predominantly although they were taught Chinese in their childhoods from their parents, grandparents or at Chinese language school. On the other hand, parents in the second group speak Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) most comfortably, and they speak Chinese to their children at home. Chinese Canadians who are invested in their children’s CHL education are incredibly diverse in many aspects (e.g., immigration status, first language, country of origins, economic status, etc.). Among many variables, the reason why I particularly chose to categorize the cases in two groups depending on their dominant language and immigration status stems from my observation and analysis of the Mandarin bilingual program movement in Metro Vancouver. As I showed in Chapter 2, parents have been divided between Chinese speakers and English speakers, and the language status which often reflects the immigration status has become a crucial factor in determining the availability of resources in learning Chinese. In order to understand the shaping of Chinese as a heritage language in Canada––that is Chinese Canadians’ trajectories, investments, struggles and desires regarding the Chinese language, which also address structural issues and problems of CHL education in 64 Canada––it was crucial that I understand CHL from both perspectives: Chinese Canadian parents who were raised in Canada and spoke English as their dominant language and who were recent immigrants from Chinese speaking countries who spoke Chinese predominantly. In addition, the method had to enable understanding the parents’ experience not as a new separate phenomenon but within the historical continuity. Therefore, I framed my research questions as follows and linked them to the notion of timescales, described in Section 4.6: Research Question #1 What are the trajectories of English-speaking Chinese Canadian parents’ (Group 1) attitudes, feelings, perceptions and practices regarding CHL from childhood to parenthood? (Timescale One) Research Question #2 What are the recurring problems and issues regarding CHL learning in Canada that were addressed in both Group 1 parents’ stories of childhood experiences and Group 2 parents’ stories of contemporary Canada? (Timescale Two) Research Question #3 What are the differences and similarities between Group 1 parents and Group 2 regarding their desires, challenges and obstacles in raising their children to be bilingual? (Timescale Three) The analyses of RQ 1 and 2 will be situated in the long history of Chinese immigration to Canada to address the over-arching research question, “How can we make sense of Chinese Canadian parents’ stories regarding Chinese language education when we situate the stories and analyses of RQ 1 and 2 within the long history of Chinese in Canada?” 4.2 Defining Life History Research To address my research questions, I have employed life history research as the main method of this study. Life history research, which originated in sociology and anthropology, focuses on the life experiences of ordinary people (Chase, 2005; Goodson & Sikes, 2001; Kouritzin, 2000; Langness & Frank, 1981). Following the narrative turn in the social sciences24, scholars in the second language education field started paying much more 24 The narrative turn across human sciences took place in the 1960s reflecting the development of narratology (Benwell & Stokoe, 2006; Kreiswirth, 2005). Stemming mainly from French structuralism and semiotics, narratology set out goals such as discovering universal elements of internal structure in narratives and identifying and analyzing the grammars of different narrative genres. These narrative theories quickly migrated beyond narratology, and became popular tools of research across the human sciences in the 1970s. For example, in history, Hayden White’s (1973) Metahistory was groundbreaking as an 65 attention to second language learners’ (L2) subjective accounts of their learning, and learners’ diaries and journals became popular in the 1980s as a way to understand the process of second language learning (Pavlenko, 2007). More recently, biographic interviews and narratives as a means to understand linguistic trajectories and identity development of L2 learners, immigrants, and linguistic minorities have become popular among applied linguists and language educators (e.g., Benson, 2011; Benson, Barkhuizen, Bodycott, & Brown, 2013; Barkhuizen, 2014, 2015; Barkhuizen, Benson, & Chik, 2014; Bullough, 1998; Casanave, 2012; Casey, 1993; Čmejrková, 2003; Curtis & Romney, 2006; Duff et al., 2013; He, 2008b; Heinz, 2001; Hinton, 2001; Kanno, 2003; Kouritzin, 1999; Lantolf & Pavlenko, 2001; D. Li & Duff, 2008, 2014; Mkhonza, 1995; Nekvapil, 2003; Ochs & Capps, 2001; Pavlenko, 1998, 2001a, 2001b, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008; Pavlenko & Lantolf, 2000; Takei, 2015; Tse, 2000b; Vitanova, 2004, 2005). Kouritzin’s Face[t]s of First Language Loss (1999) is of particular relevance to the present work not only because she focused on heritage language loss but also because she explicitly situated her work within the tradition of life history research. It is a life history multiple-case study aimed at understanding the process and effects of minority first language loss from an emic perspective. She claimed that the existing studies on language loss had mainly focused on the linguistic aspects, which tend to look at first language loss as impersonal, painless events that naturally happen over generations. Drawing on Wong Fillmore (1996), however, Kouritzin argued that language loss is a deeply personal event that has both direct and indirect impact on personal, familial, and social relationships. Language loss is neither a neutral nor a natural event because one’s linguistic environment is deeply related to the language ideologies of the particular sociocultural contexts in which one interacts with others. In order to fill this research gap, Kouritzin chose life history as her research methodology, enabling her to capture the discursive process and effects of first language loss, and the “intersection between language, identity, culture, and marginalization” (p. ix) from the participant perspective. Since Kouritzin made this argument, narrative analysis of how generic structures of emplotment in 19th century European histories were ideologically informed, sparking a generation of structural analyses of historical narratives. In sociolinguistics, Labov and Waletzky (1967/1997) put forward a structural framework for narrative analysis based upon their coding of a large corpus of narrative data. 66 research that focused on the emic perspectives in language teaching and learning (LTL) has become increasingly popular and common in the past 15 years, used by different scholars with varying epistemological stances (Barkhuizen, 2014). Barkhuizen (2014) argues: Perhaps it is true to say that since narrative research has emerged only relatively recently in LTL (research, that is, which is explicitly framed as narrative), it is still in the process of coalescing as a visible and legitimate research approach. I would argue that this creates a convenient opportunity for researchers to explore narrative work more freely without the constraints of prescriptive methodological parameters and to begin to locate themselves and their practice within the possibilities that narrative research has to offer. (p. 451) Following Barkhuizen’s suggestion to explore the possibilities of narrative studies, in this chapter, I would like to outline how I “appropriate” narrative research in my study as I particularly draw on life history research. First, how does life history research differ from other forms of qualitative methods that focus on the narratives of the participants? There is much confusion among different terms such as narrative, life history, life story, personal narrative, oral history, testimonial, and performance narrative, and indeed, the distinctions are blurry with little consensus as they all honor individuals’ life experience, and their subjective views (Chase, 2005; Cole & Knowles, 2001; Denzin, 1989; Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). While attempting “to make a distinction can become a semantic exercise” (Cole & Knowles, 2001, p. 19), the significance of life history research is in its emphasis on historical and political context of the narratives (Cole & Knowles, 2001; Goodson & Sikes, 2001). In discussing the difference between life history research and narrative research, Cole and Knowles (2001) argue: We think of life history research as taking narrative one step further; that is life history research goes beyond the individual or the personal and place narrative accounts and interpretations within a broader context. . . . Whereas narrative research focuses on making meaning of individuals’ experiences, life history research draws on individuals’ experiences to make broader contextual meaning. (p. 20) Similarly, Goodson and Sikes (2001) argue, 67 The distinction between life stories or narratives and life histories is, then, a crucial one. By providing contextual data, the life stories can be seen in the light of changing patterns of time and place in testimony and action as social constructions (p. 17). As the purpose of my study is to interpret individuals’ accounts about their heritage language learning experiences in the social, historical, and political contexts of those who have lived with positionalities specific to Chinese Canadians in Canada, I position this study as life history research.25 It is also important to note that, as Plummer (2001) argued, life history need not always be a story of one’s whole life, but can be partial, focusing on a particular topic or event.26 4.3 Bourdieu and Personal Narrative/Life History Interview As my theoretical framework heavily draws on Bourdieu’s (1991) complex constructs of habitus, capital and field, as reviewed in Chapter 3, I believe it is important to understand his methodology for understanding habitus, capital and field. Bourdieu has relied heavily on personal narratives in his studies as he constantly claimed the importance of ethnographic understanding in research (Bourdieu, 1977b, 1988; Blommaert, 2005). He quickly abandoned ethnology and structuralism as his ethnographic experience in the military battles in colonial Algeria contradicted the ethnocentrism that ran at the heart of structuralist research at that time (Blommaert, 2005). What Bourdieu meant by ethnography, however, was different from what is generally understood in North America. Reed-Danahay (2004) describes Bourdieu’s research methods as follows: Bourdieu did not use conventional (at least in British and American circles) anthropological methods of conducting “fieldwork” that involve immersion in a particular locale (or “community”) for long periods of time, methods that frequently are used to uncover cultural distinctiveness. He did some ethnographic observations in his work, but mostly used open-ended or semi-structured interviews, with a goal of 25 While I use life history research to refer to this study in terms of research design, I will use the phrases life stories, life histories, narratives, or stories interchangeably to refer to the accounts of my research participants. 26 The idea that life history research aims at connecting one’s personal life experience with the larger society can be better understood if we situate life history as a particular kind of case study (Kouritzin, 2000; Duff, 2008). Palmer (2010) notes, “Individual life histories are, by their nature, case studies par excellence” (p. 528). 68 uncovering universally valid principles such as the operation of the habitus, with an emphasis on social class, rather than “cultural” differences. (p. 129) She reviews Bourdieu’s collections of work and argues that his use of “extended personal narratives and life history narratives goes back as far as his earliest research in Béarn and Algeria during the late 1950s and early 1960s” (Reed-Danahay, 2004, p. 130), which predates the narrative turns in social sciences.27 He treated narratives in Béarn as what Reed-Danahay (2004) calls autoethnographies, which “reveal the subjective experiences of persons in times of change, what Bourdieu called hysteresis, where there is no longer a harmony between habitus and structure” (p. 130). Unlike Bertaux (1981a), another French scholar whose interest in life stories was to collect people’s “practices rather than feelings or perceptions,” Bourdieu “took perceptions and feelings or emotions into account in his work because they were integral to his concepts of habitus and dispositions” (Reed-Danahay, 2004, p. 132). Bourdieu made extensive use of personal and biographical narratives in his career, including in Homo Academicus (1988), where he used personal narratives of prominent scholars to understand academic power and positions, and The Weight of the World (1999), where he and his team collected multiple life stories of suffering and the difficulties of individuals’ lives across different socioeconomic classes. Bourdieu (1999) argues, Narratives about the most “personal” difficulties, the apparently most strictly subjective tensions and contradictions, frequently articulate the deepest structures of the social world and their contradictions. This is never so obvious as it is for occupants of precarious positions who turn out to be extraordinary “practical analysts”: situated at point where social structures “work,” and therefore worked over by the contradictions of these structures, these individuals are constrained, in order to live or to survive, to practice a kind of self-analysis, which often gives them access to the objective contradictions which have them in their grasp, and to the objective structures expressed in and by these contradictions. (p. 511) His methodological approach provides important insights for my study, as the relationship between individuals and social structure is what I would like to explore through the life histories of Chinese Canadian parents. There are three points that I find particularly insightful for my study. First, Bourdieu focused on the interviewees’ personal perspectives 27 See footnote 16. 69 and feelings rather than on the “linear life trajectory” (Reed-Danahay, 2004, p. 132). Because habitus is a bodily inscribed disposition, he took emotional reactions, such as shame and humiliation, as an index of one’s habitus (Reed-Danahay, 2004). These emotional reactions are often manifested in “blushing, stuttering, trembling, anger or impotent rage” when the body slips “from the control of the consciousness” (Bourdieu, 2001, pp. 38-39) despite our conscious efforts to control the body. The second point is on the reflexivity of the researcher (Bourdieu, 1988). He claimed that a researcher should always be aware of how his or her social position and political stance affected the way he or she perceived and understood the subjects (Blommaert, 2005; Bourdieu, 1988; Wacquant, 2007). At the same time, he was “diametrically opposed to the kind of narcissistic reflexivity celebrated by some ‘postmodern’ writers, for whom the analytical gaze turns back onto the private person of the analyst” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 173). The third point is to contextualize the stories in the sociohistorical contexts, which is also the focus of life history research as I described earlier. Bourdieu’s conception of habitus and field, which emphasizes the intertwining relationship between social structure and individual feelings and practices, makes sociohistorical contextualization even more significant. We cannot separate sociohistorical contexts from individual lives, and they always have to be understood together. 4.4 Collecting Life Stories 4.4.1 Recruiting participants I recruited five parents from each of two groups of Chinese Canadians who reside in Metro Vancouver to share their experience surrounding Chinese language education with me. The first group consisted of parents who self-identified as ethnic Chinese, and who were either born in Canada or immigrated before the age of 4. The second group consisted of parents who immigrated to Canada in their adulthood from Mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. All participants were parents with desires for their children to learn a Chinese language, whether Mandarin, Cantonese, or Taiwanese. Parents of the first group shared a similar language background in that they all spoke English predominantly although as children they were taught Chinese either by their parents or grandparents or at weekend Chinese classes. In contrast, parents of the second group spoke Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) as their first language with varying proficiencies in English, and they preferred to speak Chinese to their children at home. 70 The reason for having two groups of parents was to understand CHL in Canada from both perspectives: Those who grew up in Canada and spoke English predominantly and those who grew up in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and spoke Chinese as their first language. The two groups not only represent different language groups but also different historical positioning in Canada: The first group’s stories encompass their experience in Canada from the time multicultural policy was newly enforced throughout the contemporary time as parents. The second group’s stories encompass their experience in Canada in the contemporary time as new immigrants. Through understanding CHL from both perspectives, one of my goals was to identify the difference between the parents of Group 1 and Group 2 regarding their investment, the CHL education environment in Canada, and their thoughts and opinions. In addition, the study inquires whether the childhood experience narrated by Group 1 parents resonates with Group 2 parents’ experience in contemporary Canada. This study aims to understand CHL in Canada through such historical continuity. The rationale for gathering five participants for each group was to allow diversity within the group (e.g., gender, countries of origin, dialects, etc.) while taking into account the feasibility of data collection and in-depth analysis for each case. For each group, I sought some form of gender balance: at least two male-identified participants and two female-identified participants specifically for this reason.28 Since 2008, I have been actively involved with parents interested in their children’s Chinese language education. The longitudinal involvement allowed me to become familiar with Chinese parents’ communities in Metro Vancouver. For initial recruitment, I relied on what had been called the snowball strategy (R. Atkinson & Flint, 2001): I asked the people I knew from my networking, who were then able to recommend people who were interested in sharing their Chinese language learning experience with me. This strategy is also aligned with what Bourdieu (1999) suggested in reducing the asymmetric power relationship between the researcher and research participants as “social proximity and familiarity provide two of the conditions of ‘nonviolent’ communication” (p. 609). I will come back to the topic of the power relationship between the researcher and the participants in Section 4.5.2. I was able to recruit all five Chinese immigrant participants, three females and two males, using 28 Although I recognize that gender is a complex entity, for the sake of simplicity and brevity, I refer to these identities as simply “male” and “female” for the remainder of the dissertation. 71 this strategy. As for the parents raised in Canada, after employing the snowball strategy I still needed two more participants. I circulated an advertisement on a website and on community bulletin boards. Eventually, two parents contacted me, which gave that group three females and two males as well. Therefore, I had ten participants in total. For the sake of protecting the identities of the participants, I chose not to mention how each parent became my research participants. Even though I used pseudonyms for all participants who were involved, revealing the recruitment context could risk revealing their identities.29 4.4.2 Interviews When I approached the participants who grew up in Canada (Group 1), I asked them if they would tell me about their experiences surrounding Chinese language learning since childhood, and about their current experiences surrounding their children’s Chinese language education. In approaching the participants who immigrated to Canada as adults, I asked if they would share their efforts and struggles in raising their children to be bilingual in Chinese and English since they immigrated to Canada. Each interview took between an hour and two hours. The interview took place at a time and place at the participants’ convenience: at a café, at a cafeteria while eating lunch, at their office, at their house, or in an open room on campus. Each interview was audio recorded with my digital audio recorder on a table after the consent form was signed. For the Chinese-speaking participants, I prepared a Chinese version of the consent form. I started each interview by introducing myself as a researcher who was interested in Chinese Canadian parents’ experience regarding Chinese language learning. I also positioned myself as a wife of a Chinese Canadian male who spoke English predominantly, and as a mother invested in her children’s Japanese language learning. While the table below summarizes the basic questions I asked in the interview, it is important to note that all interviews were highly interactive as I asked for more details, asked new questions, and changed subjects as the interview unfolded. I did not have to ask each question listed below 29 Similarly, I chose not to reveal whether there were couples or not because this, too, would potentially reveal identities in this close-knit community. In this case, the child is given a different pseudonym even if she/he had the same parents. Also, the nature of my rapport with parents has been omitted to protect their identities. 72 to elicit stories from the participants as the stories generally flowed without the need for such explicit prompting. All interviews were conducted between Summer 2012 and Spring 2013. During the interview, I took field notes consisting of any thoughts that emerged during the interview, or particular things I noticed that would not be recorded, such as the participant’s facial expressions. I asked all participants to call me or email me if they wanted to add to or change anything they had told me in their interviews. They also gave me consent to contact them by email or phone if I came up with more questions while reviewing our interviews, which I did on several occasions. Table 4.1 Interview Questions Please tell me about yourself. o Where were you born? o (If born in Canada) Where were your parents from? o What were the languages spoken at home as a child? o What languages do you speak now? How did you learn Chinese? (For Group 1 parents) o Where did you learn Chinese? o Why did you learn it? o How did you feel about learning Chinese? How did you learn English? o When and where did you learn English? o How did you feel about learning English? o What was your experience like? Please tell me about your children. o How old are they? o Where were they born? o What languages do you speak at home? Please tell me about your children’s Chinese language education. o Where do they learn Chinese? o Which language (Mandarin/Cantonese/Taiwanese)? o Why do you want them to learn Chinese? o Are they motivated to learn Chinese? Anything you would like to add, opinions, ideas and questions about your children’s Chinese language education? Because of my lack of oral Chinese proficiency, I asked the participants to either have an interview in English or in Chinese with an interpreter. As a result, all interviews 73 except for one were conducted in English. One participant in Group 2, Oliver, opted for an interview in Cantonese with an interpreter. For details regarding the arrangement of an interpreter, and the transcribing process, see Section 4.4.4 and 7.3.2. 4.4.3 The participants I asked the participants if they wanted to choose their own pseudonyms, but they all asked me to choose names for them. In what follows, I have outlined brief introductions to the people who shared their stories with me. I chose English names over Chinese names because almost all participants used their English names with me for the interview.30All years and ages are from the time of the interview in 2012 and 2013, and not the current years and ages at the time of writing this dissertation. All participants had post-secondary degrees including some with graduate degrees. 184.108.40.206 Predominantly English-speaking parents § Emily: Emily was born in Vancouver. She spoke English primarily with limited proficiency in Cantonese. Her parents were from China and they spoke Cantonese. At the time of the interview, her son was in Grade 1 at a Chinese bilingual school in Metro Vancouver. § Harry: Harry was born in Alberta. He almost exclusively spoke English. His family had been in Canada for several generations. At the time of the interview, his son had finished his first year at a Chinese bilingual school in Metro Vancouver. § Jack: Jack was born in Taiwan and moved to Toronto when he was three years old. His parents spoke Mandarin. He spoke English primarily but he relearned Mandarin as an adult and acquired French at a high level. At the time of the interview, his son was in Grade 1 at a Chinese bilingual school in Metro Vancouver. § Joyce: Joyce was born in the United States and moved to Victoria as an infant. She spoke English primarily with limited proficiency in Taiwanese. Her parents were from Taiwan and they spoke Taiwanese. At the time of the interview, her son attended one of the Chinese bilingual schools in Metro Vancouver, and her younger daughter had learned several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, at daycare. 30 The reason why so many Chinese Canadians choose to use their English name in Canada is in itself an interesting topic of inquiry. 74 § Lily: Lily was born in Manitoba. She spoke English predominantly while she relearned Cantonese as an adult. Her parents were from Hong Kong and they spoke Cantonese. She had been trying to give her preschool-aged daughter opportunities to learn Cantonese and Mandarin through playgroups and language schools. 220.127.116.11 Predominantly Chinese-speaking parents § Isabelle: Isabelle was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada about 15 years ago. She spoke Cantonese primarily. Her 12-year-old daughter was born in Canada and spoke English very fluently but was also capable of communicating in Cantonese. At home, Isabelle spoke Cantonese to her daughter while her daughter used both English and Cantonese. § Oliver: Oliver grew up in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada five years ago. He spoke Cantonese predominantly. His 10-year-old son was five years old when they came to Canada. At the time of the interview, his son was learning Mandarin at one of the Chinese bilingual schools in Metro Vancouver. At home, most conversations were carried out in Cantonese. § Mia: Mia was born in China and immigrated to Canada 12 years ago. She spoke Mandarin as her first language. Her 16-year-old son had gone through regular English schooling until he entered a late French immersion program in Grade 6. He spoke English predominantly but was also capable of communication in Mandarin. At home, Mia spoke Mandarin with her son while her son used both Mandarin and English. § Sophia: Sophia was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada after college and had two daughters. Since then, the family had moved to Taiwan and Shanghai, but she returned to Canada four years ago with her two daughters. She spoke Taiwanese and Mandarin primarily. Her two school-age daughters attend regular English school. They spoke English predominantly while maintaining some level of Mandarin. While Sophia tried to encourage her daughters to speak Mandarin at home, their language use was becoming increasingly more English. § Thomas: Thomas was born in China and moved to Toronto to do his graduate studies 12 years ago. He spoke Mandarin as his first language. He had two school-age sons who attended regular English school. They spoke English predominantly while maintaining limited proficiencies in Mandarin. 75 Table 4.2 Predominantly English-Speaking (Group 1) Parents Pseudonym Place of birth Heritage language Children’s site of Chinese education when interview took place Home language Emily Canada Cantonese Bilingual program English Harry Canada Toisanese Bilingual program English Jack Taiwan Mandarin Bilingual program English Joyce USA Taiwanese Bilingual program English Lily Canada Cantonese Play group English Table 4.3 Predominantly Chinese-Speaking (Group 2) Parents Pseudonym Place of birth First Language Children’s site of Chinese education when interview took place Home language Isabelle Hong Kong Cantonese Cantonese at home, Mandarin at regular school Cantonese and English Oliver Hong Kong Cantonese Cantonese at home, Mandarin at regular school Cantonese and English Mia Mainland China Mandarin Home Mandarin and English Sophia Taiwan Mandarin Home Mandarin and English Thomas Mainland China Mandarin Home Mandarin and English 4.4.4 Transcribing As many applied linguists have argued, transcribing is not a neutral activity; rather, the researcher makes the decisions about how to describe what happened during the interview based on his/her theoretical orientation. Thus, transcription must be understood as “theory driven and theory saturated” (Duff, 2008a, p. 154; also see Ochs, 1979; Silverman, 2000). This also explains why I spent a section on Bourdieu’s methodological orientation in Section 4.3 to gain better understanding about the relationship between his theory and his methodology. As Bourdieu (1999) argued, transcribing is an act of “translation or even an 76 interpretation” (p. 621); it is also an act of power, as I discuss in Section 4.5.2. Because of this interpretive quality of the transcription process, it was important that I do the transcription myself. As I transcribed all audio-recorded English interviews myself, I focused mostly on the content because my primary aim is to understand what the participants’ stories tell us about Chinese language education in Canada; however, I also paid attention to the different prosody and pauses when I thought it was important to note them based on the context of what had been said. I particularly paid attention to their emotional tones, together with my field notes of their facial expression and gestures which I took during the interview. That is because symbolic violence often takes the form of “bodily emotions” of shame, joy, anxiety, timidity, etc. (Bourdieu, 2001, p. 38), and those bodily emotions needed to be noticed and interpreted in addition to the verbal content of the interview. Although I would have preferred to translate and transcribe all interviews myself, my lack of Chinese meant that I needed to include others in the process in the case of Oliver’s interview. The interview with Oliver was conducted in Cantonese with an interpreter. The interpreter was a female university student who was fluent in both Cantonese and English. To transcribe that interview, I hired another bilingual university student who was highly proficient in English and Cantonese. I asked her to transcribe all the original speech as it was, and then to translate the Cantonese into English, even though Oliver’s speech was already translated into English during the interview by the original interpreter. It was important to have all Oliver’s accounts transcribed in Chinese and then translated into English by a different person to check for mistranslations during the actual interview.31 4.5 How I Understand Life History Interviews 4.5.1 Factual truth and co-constructed nature of interviews Different scholars have long discussed the issues surrounding the truth-value in life history research. Kouritzin (2000) argues that in life history research, “it is not the events themselves that are of greatest importance, but the participants’ understandings of the events and their later impact on, or resolution in, the participants’ lives” (p. 4). In other words, whether the participant is telling us a story that is coherent with factual truths is not of primary interest for life history research. Rather, the question may be to explore why 31 The transcriber/translator had the original translator’s oral text on the recording. 77 participants might be telling stories that are not coherent with factual truth. As many life story and life history researchers have argued, we live and relive our lives through stories we tell to others and to ourselves (Atkinson, 1998; Denzin, 1989; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Goodson & Sikes, 2001). Clandinin and Connelly (1994) describe the relationship between life-as-lived and life-as-told as follows: Stories are the closest we can come to experience as we and others tell of our experience. A story has a sense of being full, a sense of coming out of a personal and social history . . . Experience . . . is the stories people live. People live stories, and in the telling of them reaffirm them, modify them, and create new ones. (p. 415) Rather than trying to represent the factual truth, life history researchers should therefore “simply acknowledge what they are able to do with the stories they use as data: namely, offer an interpretation through their writing and spell out the influences that may have coloured both the teller’s story and their interpretation of it” (Goodson & Sikes, 2001, p. 45). But the life history interview adds another layer to this. The stories people tell are not only the product of the inner dialogue within themselves but also a product of the dialogue between the teller and the researcher. Indeed, “the life history is collaboratively constructed by a life story teller and life story interviewer/researcher” (Goodson & Sikes, 2001, p. 62). In addition, as Briggs (2003) points out, the interviewees “often shape their responses in keeping with imaginings of future texts and audiences” (p. 246). I would argue that the researcher too, shape their questions and responses imagining the future texts and readers. Therefore, as a life history researcher, it is crucial that I present and analyze the life stories through the lens of those interactions, as situated social practice (Bruner, 1990; Holstein & Gubrium, 2004; Talmy, 2010). If the story is one of the versions of recollecting a participant’s past, then the versions that were produced while the participants were interacting with me need to be presented in a way that shows their particular situatedness. Highlighting the interactional aspects of interviews means that we should no longer see interviewers as inert instruments that elicit answers from participants, but as taking an active role in the meaning-making process in collaboration with the participants (Bruner, 1990; Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Duff, 2008a; Gubrium & Holstein, 2009; Talmy, 2010, 2011). At the same time, participants are not “passive vessels of answers to whom interviewers direct their questions” (Holstein & 78 Gubrium, 2004, p. 144); they are also active in choosing what to say, and how to say it in relation to the local contingencies of the interview. This means that I should “consciously and conscientiously” attend to “both the interview process and the products that interviews generate in ways that are more sensitive to the social construction of knowledge” (Holstein & Gubrium, p. 142). Therefore, erasing the voice of the researcher from the story and presenting it as a complete first-person narrative does not fit in with the stance I am taking. However, I do believe that readability is important for my research. If the purpose of the study is to provide a space for the reader to closely empathize with the storyteller, and to have a simulated experience of their life-as-told, editing the interview into a first-person narrative is a useful option. For example, in her study, Kouritzin (1999) presented the stories in a first-person narrative form despite the fact that she acknowledges the co-constructive and situated quality of the interviews. Before each story, she described the narrative context and interview context of the story so that the readers were reminded that each life story unfolded in a particular context. However, I am reluctant to rewrite the life history of my research participants in first-person narratives and to completely cut off the interaction between them and me. Based on my understanding of interview as interactions between the interviewer and interviewees, I framed each life history as what was told to me, and what I, as the interlocutor, was both prompting through questions and then re-presenting as the story. The purpose of doing this was to make clear that I was presenting their stories from my point of view, as my interpretation of their stories, utilizing quotes from the interviews and facilitating the reader’s understanding by enriching the story with necessary background information. I will omit the parts that I think are less related to the topic and edit the storylines in a way that facilitates reading. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, readability is important to me. I was initially thinking of writing the stories combining transcription quotes and my interpretation and analysis. This form is taken by Munro (1998) in Subject to Fiction: Women Teachers’ Life History Narratives and the Cultural Politics of Resistance. A slightly different style is found in Bourdieu et al. (1999) in The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Bourdieu and his team first present the stories from their point of view, with interview quotes, while providing personal, historical, and social contexts of the stories, as well as their interpretation and analysis. Then, Bourdieu provides parts of 79 the interview transcription so that the reader can read the conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee with sufficient contextual information. I attempted to follow Bourdieu’s approach by knitting in-depth analysis into the stories. However, I was afraid the readers would lose their focus from the life history, and also more importantly, knitting in-depth analysis into the stories might take away the readers’ opportunity to do their own analyses of each life history. I decided to keep my analysis to a minimum when presenting each life story, and to make a separate space for in-depth and cross-case analyses. Indeed, we are living in the era of “crisis of representation” (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005, p. 2), and there is no single way to present life history data. Therefore, it is crucial that I am reflexive about what I choose to write and how I choose to write. Regarding the problem of representation, I must note that I did not correct “grammatical errors” that occurred in the interview. One reason for this is to stay true to parents’ voice. By editing their utterance, there is a potential danger that I may change the nuance of the meaning they would want to convey. Another reason has to do with my position that supports the concept of English as a lingua franca and its fluid notion of grammatical correctness (Jenkins, 2009). In the interview, English clearly served as a lingua franca between the parents and me. As Smith (2015) argues, “there is no room for linguistic chauvinism” when English is used for communication among people of different linguist backgrounds. In reality, I myself suffered from the symbolic violence of the correctness of English as I discuss in the next section, and it is extremely difficult not to feel intimidated by grammatical errors. However, I hope that by not “correcting” the fluid use of English in a doctoral dissertation, and by showing that their utterance totally made sense to me even if it did not follow the “correct” grammar in the traditional way, I can resist the symbolic violence of what is considered legitimate and practice the notion of English as a lingua franca. 4.5.2 Relationship between researcher and participant If we value the nature of interview as co-constructed, then we cannot avoid thinking about the impact of the relationship between researcher and participant (Briggs, 2003; Duff, 2008b; Talmy, 2010). Researchers have power over the participants not only within the interview context in which they can choose the topic and guide the interview process but also in the post interview context in which they can transcribe and entextualize the interaction, 80 and recontexualize the unit of interview into a different context from the interview context (Briggs, 2007). There are different ways to address this issue, one of them is to do a fine-grained transcription, and focus on the interview as a “topic of investigation itself” (Talmy, 2010, p. 132) as seen in studies of discourse analysis (e.g., Blommaert, 2005; Fairclough & Wodak, 2011; Gee, 2011), conversation analysis (e.g., Benwell & Stokoe, 2006) or positioning analysis (e.g., Bamberg, 2005; Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008; Harré & Van Langenhove, 1999) amo
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Memories of language lost and learned : parents and the shaping of Chinese as a heritage language in… Mizuta, Ai 2017
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