Chapter 11. Chinese language learning by adolescents and young adults in the Chinese diaspora

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Issues connected with motivation, ethnicity, and identity among adolescent and young adult heritage language learners are the subject of a growing amount of research in diaspora communities. However, until recently, this research has tended to be quantitative, and the constructs were theorized and operationalized in a categorical or essentialist manner. This chapter aims to (1) describe some of the changes in theory that are relevant to Chinese heritage language (CHL) learning, seeing it as a much more dynamic, multilingual, nonlinear, and contingent process; (2) review recent research examining these socio-affective factors among CHL learners; (3) present a study on the longitudinal trajectories, motivations, and identities of four individuals learning CHL in a Western Canadian university program; and (4) consider implications of this work for improving curriculum, pedagogy, learning materials, and policies.


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