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postgraduate thesis: Ideology, identity and linguistic repertoires among South Asian students in Hong Kong

TitleIdeology, identity and linguistic repertoires among South Asian students in Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Fleming, K. K.. (2015). Ideology, identity and linguistic repertoires among South Asian students in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689270
AbstractFor Hong Kong South Asians, a lack of Cantonese is said to be the primary barrier to integration into the Hong Kong mainstream. This thesis rejects that claim by demonstrating the links between language ideologies and underlying ethnic and class hierarchies. Drawing on work from language ideology and linguistic ethnography, this research traces the construction of links between language, ethnicity, and national belonging through ethnography conducted in a multiethnic Hong Kong secondary school. Categories such as “non-Chinese speaking” are shown to be rooted in ethnic differences, not actual linguistic skill. In Hong Kong, particular linguistic repertoires are evaluated along dimensions of “local/non-local” and “elite/non-elite.” Speakers occupying different social positions are expected to have different linguistic resources, and they are evaluated differently with regard to the resources they do have. Accordingly, South Asians are constructed as non-locals and non-elites, who are expected not to know Cantonese but said to need it. This contrasts with other groups, such as non-local and elite expatriates, who are neither expected nor encouraged to learn Cantonese. This thesis describes how these discourses are taken up, reproduced and modified within the school setting. Examining how students style their own language use reveals the tensions between dominant ideologies and students’ actual practices and identifications. Both the constraints on students’ ethnonational identities and potential strategies for individuals to align or disalign themselves with dominant expectations for minorities are described. This analysis supports the usefulness of a repertoire-based indexical approach for analyzing multilingual practices. It demonstrates the importance of considering the repertoire, not just individual languages, in analyzing the construction of sociolinguistic meaning. Linking these locally negotiated meanings to Hong Kong’s broader ideological landscape exemplifies how discourses about language may be used as a tool to naturalize social stratification and exclusion. Learning Cantonese cannot therefore be considered the key to integration, and in fact discourses of “integration” and “diversity” themselves collude to reinforce the outsider status of South Asians. Amidst increased sociolinguistic interest in transnational mobility and the destabilization of borders, this work examines how boundaries are maintained and legitimated through language.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectAnthropological linguistics - China - Hong Kong
South Asian students - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes
Sociolinguistics - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramLinguistics
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222399

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorFleming, Kara Kathleen-
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-13T01:23:30Z-
dc.date.available2016-01-13T01:23:30Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationFleming, K. K.. (2015). Ideology, identity and linguistic repertoires among South Asian students in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689270-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222399-
dc.description.abstractFor Hong Kong South Asians, a lack of Cantonese is said to be the primary barrier to integration into the Hong Kong mainstream. This thesis rejects that claim by demonstrating the links between language ideologies and underlying ethnic and class hierarchies. Drawing on work from language ideology and linguistic ethnography, this research traces the construction of links between language, ethnicity, and national belonging through ethnography conducted in a multiethnic Hong Kong secondary school. Categories such as “non-Chinese speaking” are shown to be rooted in ethnic differences, not actual linguistic skill. In Hong Kong, particular linguistic repertoires are evaluated along dimensions of “local/non-local” and “elite/non-elite.” Speakers occupying different social positions are expected to have different linguistic resources, and they are evaluated differently with regard to the resources they do have. Accordingly, South Asians are constructed as non-locals and non-elites, who are expected not to know Cantonese but said to need it. This contrasts with other groups, such as non-local and elite expatriates, who are neither expected nor encouraged to learn Cantonese. This thesis describes how these discourses are taken up, reproduced and modified within the school setting. Examining how students style their own language use reveals the tensions between dominant ideologies and students’ actual practices and identifications. Both the constraints on students’ ethnonational identities and potential strategies for individuals to align or disalign themselves with dominant expectations for minorities are described. This analysis supports the usefulness of a repertoire-based indexical approach for analyzing multilingual practices. It demonstrates the importance of considering the repertoire, not just individual languages, in analyzing the construction of sociolinguistic meaning. Linking these locally negotiated meanings to Hong Kong’s broader ideological landscape exemplifies how discourses about language may be used as a tool to naturalize social stratification and exclusion. Learning Cantonese cannot therefore be considered the key to integration, and in fact discourses of “integration” and “diversity” themselves collude to reinforce the outsider status of South Asians. Amidst increased sociolinguistic interest in transnational mobility and the destabilization of borders, this work examines how boundaries are maintained and legitimated through language.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshAnthropological linguistics - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshSouth Asian students - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes-
dc.subject.lcshSociolinguistics - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleIdeology, identity and linguistic repertoires among South Asian students in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5689270-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLinguistics-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5689270-

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