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The Relationship between Online Translanguaging Practices and Chinese Teenagers’ Self-identities

Zhang, Luoming (2018) The Relationship between Online Translanguaging Practices and Chinese Teenagers’ Self-identities. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Translanguaging as an emerging theme in sociolinguistic studies refers to the meaning-making process by which people deploy various linguistic and semiotic resources at their disposal. This concept emphasises how personal history and experience are embedded in language practices, and thus enables researchers to understand how identities are rooted in and develop in contemporary contexts. Translanguaging in China is an under-researched area, and this study investigates the relationship between online translanguaging practices and Chinese teenagers’ identity. The study is located in contemporary metropolitan China, where teenagers have more access to global communication networks than ever before, but where free expression and information exchange is progressively restricted. It aims to find out how Chinese teenagers understand their identities, and how this relates to their multilingual and multimodal online expression. Based on the understanding of their language and identity, the study also hopes to draw some implications for general pedagogy and language education. Based on recent translanguaging studies (Simpson and Bradley, 2017; Zhu and Li, 2017), I adopt a linguistic ethnographic approach that interprets social and cultural life through situated language use (Creese and Copland, 2015). I followed their social networking sites and recorded their posts over the course of a year, with an analytical focus on posts involving translanguaging, and I interviewed them about their self-identities in order to understand how their language practices and identities are interrelated. The findings reveal that the participants’ are actively and critically developing their self-identities, regardless of geographical and cultural boundaries, or current political attempts to restrict their self-expression. The online translanguaging practices enable the teenagers to articulate their identities freely with the multimodal semiotic resources at their disposal, in a way they might not be able to do offline. I conclude that translanguaging is a valuable lens through which to understand Chinese teenagers’ identity construction, and the study offers some implications both for future research on translanguaging, and for school English language pedagogy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Translanguaging, Chinese teenagers, identity, online communication, superdiversity, multimodality
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.762534
Depositing User: Miss LUOMING ZHANG
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 10:57
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22538

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