Identity construction in Chinese heritage language classes

Agnes Weiyun He

Abstract

From an interactionally enriched linguistic anthropological perspective, this article promotes the view that identity is indexical with specific sets of acts and stances, which in turn are constructed by specific language forms. Based on detailed sequential and grammatical analyses of data from Chinese heritage language classes, it argues that identity is dynamic, constantly unfolding along with interaction, and thus has the potential to shift and mutate. It positions identity as emerging through co-participants’ responses and reactions and thus as an intersubjective and reciprocal entity. It further suggests that identity construction is intricately linked with heritage language learning.

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