The study abroad experiences of heritage language learners : discourses of identity

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The study abroad experiences of heritage language learners : discourses of identity

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dc.contributor.advisor Abrams, Zsuzsanna I.
dc.creator Moreno, Kirstin Heather
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-27T23:10:10Z
dc.date.available 2011-01-27T23:10:10Z
dc.date.created 2009-05
dc.date.issued 2011-01-27
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2152/9744
dc.description.abstract This study highlights the complexities associated with learning a heritage language (HL) abroad, specifically with regard to identity, expectations, and beliefs about language and language learning, by examining the ways that HL learners talk about themselves. These are important topics to study because perceptions of language learning have been shown to influence language acquisition in the study abroad context (Wilkinson, 1998). In addition, study abroad programs are becoming more popular and so are attempts to design language courses to meet the unique needs of HL learners. The study explores the experiences of 17 HL learners who chose to study abroad in 2007 or 2008 to improve their HL proficiency. These HL learners had at least a basic ability to comprehend and communicate in the language that their parents or grandparents speak natively, and were themselves dominant in English. The participants included 5 males and 12 females who went abroad to 14 different countries to study Spanish (7), Hebrew (1), Tigrinya (1), French (1), German (1), Korean (1), Cantonese (1), or Mandarin (4). Data collected include 17 hours of interviews both before and after the sojourns, 34 email reflections written while abroad, blog entries, and a focus group. Data were analyzed using discursive psychology, which views discourse as being variable, co-constructed, purposeful, and context-dependent. By analyzing the data to find the interpretive repertoires, ideological dilemmas, and subject positions used (Reynolds & Wetherell, 2003; Edley, 2001), a deeper understanding of studying abroad as a HL learner was attained. Findings include that the participants lack interpretive repertoires to discuss their HL and being a HL learner, used their HL as a resource to access other learning opportunities while abroad, encountered difficulties fully immersing themselves in the HL while abroad, received insufficient pre-departure support from the study abroad offices, and had backgrounds and HL learning experiences that varied considerably. The study's findings have implications for what topics to cover in classes and study abroad advising sessions that may help HL learners make decisions about where to study abroad, as well as help students process the experiences they have learning their HL and studying abroad.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights Copyright © is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.
dc.subject Heritage language studying
dc.subject Heritage language learners
dc.subject Studying abroad
dc.subject Study abroad
dc.subject Foreign language studying
dc.title The study abroad experiences of heritage language learners : discourses of identity
dc.description.department Foreign Language Education Program
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material text
thesis.degree.department Foreign Language Education Program
thesis.degree.discipline Foreign Language Education
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy

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