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Cantonese-Speaking Parents’ Attitudes towards Bidialectalism in Canada: Status, Solidarity and Change

Event type




December 07, 2023 (Thu)


Room 401-402, Meng Wah Complex, HKU


12:45 PM - 2:00 PM


Professor Guofang Li
Cantonese-Speaking Parents’ Attitudes towards Bidialectalism in Canada: Status, Solidarity and Change

Cantonese-Speaking Parents’ Attitudes towards Bidialectalism in Canada: Status, Solidarity and Change

Professor Guofang Li

Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair
University of British Columbia

December 7, 2023 (Thursday)

12:45 – 14:00

Room 401-402, Meng Wah Complex, HKU
Chair: Dr Chun Lai


Recent drastic changes in Canada’s immigration patterns have significantly transformed the linguistic landscapes of Chinese communities in Canada which are characterized by increasing diglossia and bidialectalism in Cantonese and Mandarin. Little is known about how Cantonese families cope with these changes. In this presentation, I share findings from a three-year longitudinal study of 24 Cantonese-speaking parents’ attitudes toward Mandarin and Cantonese and their efforts in maintaining their K-3 children’s bidialectalism in relation to the two official languages (English and French) in Canada and whether and how their attitudes and practices change over time. Data analyses revealed a language hierarchy and a shift in their beliefs in the status of Mandarin and Cantonese over the three years. These trends were shaped by their solidarity with their Chinese roots and transnational membership and have led to significant changes in home language practices. The findings suggest that parental attitudes toward bidialectalism are complex and must be understood in global contexts.


About the speaker:
Professor Guofang Li is Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transnational/Global Perspectives of Language and Literacy Education of Children and Youth, University of British Columbia. Her research interests span longitudinal studies of bilingualism and biliteracy development, Chinese heritage language education, new literacies and technology-enhanced language teaching, bilingual language teacher education, and language and educational policies in globalized contexts. Li’s recent works include Handbook on Promoting Equity in Education for Inclusive Systems and Societies (Forthcoming, Routledge), Superdiversity and Teacher Education (2021, Routledge), Languages, Identities, Power and Cross-Cultural Pedagogies in Transnational Literacy Education (2019, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press), and Educating Chinese-heritage Students in the Global-Local Nexus: Identities, Challenges, and Opportunities (2017, Routledge). Her research contribution has been recognized by numerous national and international awards including the 2016 Mid-Career Award from the Second Language Research Special Interest Group (SIG), American Educational Research Association (AERA), the 2016 Carol Weinstein Outstanding Research Award, Classroom Management SIG, AERA, the 2013 and 2006 Ed Fry Book Award of the Literary Research Association (LRA). Li is co-host of International Research Network on Equity in Youth Education and Training and has served as co-editor of Journal of Literacy Research and on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly journals.

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