Skip to main content

Racialized queer immigrants' English learning in Canada: A sociolinguistic ethnography

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Cao, Liang
This thesis presents three ethnographic case studies exploring racialized queer immigrants' English learning in the Greater Vancouver Area in Western Canada. Drawing on multiple theoretical lenses including social identity approach to second language acquisition, theory of intersectionality, forms of capital, language ideologies, and language learner agency, this thesis aims to answer the following research question: How do ideologies of language, race, and sexuality intersect with each other and impact racialized queer immigrants' English learning? Over the span of two years, I adopted critical sociolinguistic ethnography as the overarching methodological framework and conducted a case study with each of the three key participants for seven to nine months. Data generation and analysis were divided into three phases. In phase one (one to two months), I used informal chats, initial interviews, and preliminary observations to get familiar with their life trajectories and map out their practices of English learning. In phase two (four to five months), I conducted online and on-site observations, semi-structured interviews, and participants' reflective journals, to co-construct in-depth knowledge of their experiences in the previously mapped learning communities. In phase three (two to three months), I applied critical discourse analysis to interpret the relationship between macro-level social discourse and micro-level semiotic discourses in selected key events in their English learning stories. The analysis suggests that racialized queer immigrants' English learning in Canada are restricted by intersectional ideological structures rooted in the history of European colonization (e.g., heteronormative and homonormative ideologies, raciolinguistic ideologies, and racial-sexual ideologies); in the meantime, they are able to exert agency and utilize creative semiotic strategies (e.g., the foregrounding and backgrounding of social identity markers in conversation) to circumvent and transform ideological discourses in English learning practices. Through this project, I highlight a race and sexuality co-implicated lens to develop possible ways for decolonizing immigrants' English language education and underline the importance of equipping racially and sexually marginalized learners with critical literacy skills to navigate and overcome ideological barriers in their English learning in immigrant-receiving countries in the (post)colonial world.
155 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Lin, Angel
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd22493.pdf 1.2 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 0
Downloads: 7