A research on Finnish-Chinese children’s bilingual identity through multiliteracies : a case study of Chinese heritage learners in Central Finland
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Research on the bilingual identity of heritage language learners is a field emerging at the turn of the 21st century. This study explored the Chinese identity and Finnish identity of a group of Chinese heritage learners aged from 5 to 16 from the perspective of identity-as-narrative. The main goal was to find out how Chinese heritage learners identify themselves with the Chinese language and Finnish language by taking photos and other story-telling. The research design is based on visual methods for meaning-making and on the concept design in the field of pedagogy of multiliteracies. Contents analysis and narrative analysis were employed to analyze the visual identity narratives produced by participants, which yielded several findings regarding 1) the common resources used for Chinese-Finnish identity construction, 2) the multidimensional and individualized characteristics of the construct of heritage learners’ language identity, 3) the specialness of Chinese identity in compared to Finnish identity, and 4) bilingual identity as both experienced lives and imagined possibilities. These results are to some extent similar to the expertise, inheritance and affiliation meanings of language identity articulated in previous research, but also bring about some new meanings that are attached by heritage learners to the Chinese and Finnish language. At last, this study concludes that visual methods are young-learner friendly because it facilitates expression and communication with minors and it prompts researchers to explain meaning-making of identity from young learners’ points of view. The research project is also of pedagogical importance because it serves to scaffold learners’ learning of Chinese literacy. ...
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