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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Negotiating multiple investments in languages and identities : the language socialization of Generation 1.5 Korean-Canadian university students Kim, Jean


The increasing number of immigrants in North America has made Generation 1.5 students--foreign-born children who immigrated to their host country with their first- generation immigrant parents (Rumbaut & Ima, 1988)--a significant population in Canadian and American schools (Fix & Passel, 2003; Gunderson, 2007). Of these students, many enter universities while still in the process of learning English as a second language (ESL). This often presents them with unique educational needs and challenges, which sometimes results in a “deficiency-oriented” view of Generation 1.5 university students (Harklau, 2000). However, much of the immigrant education research has thus far been limited to K-12 students, and the applied linguistics literature on Generation 1.5 university students has mostly examined their experiences within college and university ESL, writing, or composition program settings in the U.S. Therefore, this study addresses the gap in the literature through a qualitative multiple case study exploring the language socialization of seven Generation 1.5 Korean-Canadian university students. Triangulated data were collected over ten months through individual and group interviews with students and three English course instructors, questionnaires, students’ personal writings, and field notes. Drawing on the perspectives of language socialization (Duff & Hornberger, 2008) and language and identity (Norton, 2000), this study examined the contextual factors involved in the students’ language socialization processes and further investigated how these factors affected the students’ investments in languages and identities, as manifested in their everyday practices. The findings suggest that 1) in an ever-changing globalized world, the characteristics, including the educational goals and needs, of today’s Generation 1.5 Korean-Canadian students were considerably different from those of their predecessors; 2) through the complex interplay between their past, present, and future “imagined” experiences, the students were socialized into various beliefs and ideologies about language learning and use, often necessitating negotiations of investments in their identities and in their first, second, and sometimes third languages; and 3) given the diverse backgrounds and linguistic goals of these students, Generation 1.5 language learners should be seen from a “bi/multilingual and bicultural abilities” perspective rather than from a “deficiency-oriented” perspective. The study concludes with implications for policy, research, and pedagogy.

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