IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION AND LANGUAGE INVESTMENT BY THREE TERTIARY LEVEL CHINESE STUDY ABROAD LEARNERS IN NEW ZEALAND

Author:

Zhuoxi Cao & Jonathan Newton

Publication Date:

2019

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This study investigates how three Chinese English as second language (ESL) learners in New Zealand in higher education negotiate their identities in relation to their language investment. Data were collected from the participants through individual interviews, written reflections, and group discussion, and focused on personal histories, goals and efforts to learn and use English during study abroad (SA). The data were analysed based on case study methodology (Duff, 2012) and grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Drawing on Norton’s (2013) notion of identity, this study shows how the SA context provided the sojourners with opportunities to negotiate and construct their multiple identities. For each of them, identity construction and language investment followed a unique trajectory, influenced by the ways they were accepted or not by the host community and by the agency they displayed in navigating their relationship with this community.