Chapter 1. Language socialization into Chinese language and “Chineseness” in diaspora communities

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Language socialization research provides a rich, socioculturally-oriented theoretical framework and set of analytic tools for examining the experiences of newcomers and other novices learning language in a range of educational settings, both formal and informal. This chapter first presents an overview of language socialization principles and then highlights several personal narratives of language socialization within Chinese diaspora communities in different geographical settings. Next, studies on Chinese heritage-language socialization are examined with a focus on the functions and forms of codeswitching, shaming, narrativity, the socialization of taste during meals, and literacy texts in traditional Chinese diaspora homes as well as in ethnically mixed or blended ones. The chapter recommends, in closing, that future research should examine to a greater extent continuities, discontinuities, syncretism, and innovations in Chinese language learning and use across home, school, and community settings and across multiple timescales in order to better understand the relationship between being and knowing/using Chinese in contemporary societies.


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