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Title:Weaving their identities: a narrative inquiry into Korean heritage language learners
Author(s):Shin, Yun-Sun
Director of Research:Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McCarthey, Sarah J.; Moller, Karla J.; Pak, Yoon
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Korean Americans
Heritage language learning
Linguistic identity
Ethnic identity
Korean language classrooms
Narrative inquiry
Abstract:The focus for my research project was language learning practices and how people negotiate and transform their identities throughout their heritage language learning (HLL) experiences. Many scholars have explored language usages, identity formation, and influence of social class on language learning (Bucholtz 2011; Gee, 2002; Hill, 2001; Mendoza-Denton, 2008; Norton, 1990; Rampton, 1995). However, while heritage language courses at universities are increasingly popular (Kondo-Brown, 2003), not many studies have focused on heritage language learners. Moreover, very few studies include Korean adoptee students’ identity formation within a heritage language-learning context. This research studied how Korean heritage language learners’ cultural and language learning backgrounds shaped who they were, how they (re)constructed and negotiated their identities as Korean Americans, and the challenges they faced while taking a heritage language learning course. I used a sociocultural framework for this study and methods of narrative inquiry. I chose narrative inquiry because it raises the voices of research participants, particularly the voices of minorities whose stories have not been told (Clandinin & Connelly, 2004). The participants for this study were 7 Korean American students who were taking/had taken Korean language classes at a university level. The students were from three groups: (a) Korean Americans whose parents were both Koreans, (b) Korean Americans with at least one parent of Korean ethnicity, and (c) Korean Americans who were adopted to the United States. Data sources included narrative meetings with case study participants and their parents, background surveys, course observation field notes, multimedia language uses, and written artifacts produced by the participants in their language classes. Looking across the narrative accounts from the 7 Korean heritage learners, I found similar and different experiences influenced the learners’ identity development and how their identities shifted influenced by multiple sociocultural contexts. Their heritage language learning provided meaningful experiences to (re)construct and negotiate their identities. The implications of the study provide information for parents, educators, and policy-makers who want to better understand the process of identity development among different types of Korean heritage learners.
Issue Date:2015-04-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Yun-Sun Shin
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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