Towards a Bourdieuian understanding of the South Asian language minorities' language acquisition in Hong Kong

Wong, K.Y., 2016. Towards a Bourdieuian understanding of the South Asian language minorities' language acquisition in Hong Kong. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

The inadequacy of Chinese language skills of the South Asian language minorities has raised concerns among educators and policymakers in recent years. Further to the notification given by the Equal Opportunities Commission to the Education Bureau of its concerns about the education of language-minority students, the provision of educational support to them became one of the priorities in the "Initiatives of the 2014 Policy Address" of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. This study adopts habitus as a research method to gain a deeper understanding on the South Asian language minorities' language acquisition in Hong Kong. Whilst there are a number of initiatives to enhance the teaching and learning of Chinese for language-minority students, in this study I work closely with a group of six language minorities who studied in and graduated from the most historical designated school in Hong Kong. In attempting to understand the complexities of language practices and strategies employed by the participants to cope with their language needs in Hong Kong, I draw heavily from Bourdieu's notions of symbolic power, habitus, capital and field. The study uncovers the familial and linguistic habitus of the participants. All of them were multilingual speakers with various degrees of proficiency. Socioeconomic status appeared to have an effect on the motive for the student participants to re/produce Chinese language as their cultural capital. Meanwhile, Chinese language in terms of Cantonese was much valued by the graduate participants when they had opportunities to interact with their Chinese counterparts after they had left the designated school. The acquisition of Chinese language among the South Asian language minorities presents an interesting issue for those working in the educational field. Lacking primary familial and linguistic habitus of Chinese, the language minorities rely heavily and even entirely on the schools to help them cultivate their linguistic habitus of Chinese. I draw specifically from the relational notions of habitus and field to argue that the language minorities' linguistic habitus of Chinese can only be inculcated effectively through exposures and immersion in arenas where the Chinese counterparts are located.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Wong, K.Y.
Date: September 2016
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Mar 2017 15:45
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 15:45
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30383

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