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Exeter-Fudan Global Thought Network Seminar: Multilingualism, language education and social participation

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Along with the process of globalization and the deepening of exchanges in the international political, economic, and trade, massive migration and the transnational movement of talents have become increasingly common worldwide. Contrary to the traditional, even somewhat stereotypical impression of China as a monolingual country, linguistic diversity accompanying massive mobility has risen as a prominent issue in Chinese sociolinguistic landscape, and has exerted far-reaching influences on language education. This talk takes the perspective of “mobility” to delineate the challenges and opportunities of multilingualism in Chinese language-in-education planning. I will begin by giving an overview of multilingual research in the Chinese context, and then focus on two specific studies to address how multilingual language education is intricately connected to social participation and social equality. One study contrasts and compares how families of different social economic statuses invest differently in their children’s language learning, and the other explores how Myanmar students are mediated by the notion of linguistic entrepreneurship in their investment of learning Chinese as an international language through the valorization of multilingual competence

Professor Yongyan Zheng is now Professor of Applied Linguistics in the College of Foreign Languages and Literature, Fudan University, China.

Her research interests include bilingual/multilingual development, academic literacies, and language-in- education planning.

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