Non-investment, the Lack of English Fluency of Well-educated Professional Chinese Immigrants in Anglophone Canada
Date: 17 June 2014
University of Exeter
EdD in TESOL
The Chinese are the largest ethnic minority in Canada. As a group, they are well-known for not being able to speak fluent English, including those well-educated individuals who immigrated to Canada mainly in the 2000s. There is a rich literature in applied linguistics about immigrants’ second language learning. Nevertheless, studies ...
The Chinese are the largest ethnic minority in Canada. As a group, they are well-known for not being able to speak fluent English, including those well-educated individuals who immigrated to Canada mainly in the 2000s. There is a rich literature in applied linguistics about immigrants’ second language learning. Nevertheless, studies on second language practice of this particular group of well-educated Chinese immigrants are lacking. This enquiry is aimed at exploring the reasons why well-educated professional Chinese immigrants, who constitute a large portion of the Chinese population in Canada, do not put more effort into improving their English after settling down there, even though a better level of proficiency can bring apparent benefits to their economic and social success in the new host country. Nineteen well-educated professional Chinese immigrants took part in in-depth interviews, the sole method of data collection of this exploratory study which has a conceptual framework capitalizing on such concepts as motivation/demotivation, value, capital, investment, community and identity. The findings reveal that the principal reason for a dearth of efforts is that they do not deem such efforts very necessary and worthwhile. The contribution of this study to knowledge lies in the conceptualization of non-investment, which complements the existing notion of investment by incorporating into it motivational/demotivational factors that the latter dismisses, and which addresses the issue as to what resources an individual depends on when making investment decisions. In addition, this concept is also a contribution to the under-researched area of demotivation. The immigration of well-educated Chinese professionals to Canada is one of the trends in human migration on the global scale which is a part of globalization. Therefore, the comprehension of the rationale behind their second language practice is significant to the applied linguists who work in the realm of globalization.
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