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Language Maintenance and Identity of Families with Taiwanese Background in Australia

TSAI, Pei-Shu; QI, Grace Yue; EISENCHLAS, Susana A.; SCHALLEY, Andrea C. / December 2022 / Issue No.12 /


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This study investigated the impact of sojourning activity on children in terms of language development and identity awareness for families with Taiwanese background who migrated to Australia and sent their children back to Taiwan to receive formal education during school holidays. The study conducted a survey to explore language usage in the families and the reasons to maintain a bilingual learning environment for Chinese. The study then interviewed the parents about the Chinese language education of the children and explored the social identity of the children during the journey between Taiwan and Australia. Although only mothers were willing to be interviewed, the results showed that parents themselves were persistent in their nostalgia and educational philosophy, but that children gradually changed their self-identity between the two cultures and languages. The goals of the parents with this sojourning activity were not only to improve their children’s Chinese language skills but also to increase and foster children’s identification with Taiwan. However, the results of the interviews revealed that the children had gradually developed their own personal identity, which differed from the one their parents aimed to achieve. By exploring the experiences of Taiwanese families traveling between educational systems to and from Taiwan and Australia, this study aims to provide parents and language educators with some suggestions on foreign language learning from a social identity perspective.


language management social identity short-term sojourning Australia Mandarin


International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Dec 2022; Issue No. 12; p.31 - 56


Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.




2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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