Examining bilingual and bicultural identity in young students

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Abstract

This article examines young students' bilingual and bicultural identity. Observational, survey, and interview data as well as data from primary school students' journals indicated that that students found it more challenging to identify as bilingual than as bicultural. Both individual and social factors contributed to students' bilingual and bicultural identity development, and three interrelated elements (connection, interaction, and investment) influenced the ways in which students experienced connection to their languages and cultures. As expressed by these students, feeling bilingual and feeling bicultural are quite distinct notions. This presents some challenges to prior beliefs about the interrelatedness of bilingual and bicultural identities.

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