Identity and Investment in Learning English and Chinese: An Ethnographic Inquiry of Two Nepali Students in Hong Kong

  • Chura Bahadur ThapaEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 32)


This chapter reports on an ethnographic study of two Nepali students’ identity and investment in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. This ethnographic inquiry lasted for more than 2 years during which I had interactions with the participating students and observed their language practices and social interactions at various locations (i.e., at school, home, friendship networks, and social media). Analysis of the data reveals that self-other identification processes play important roles in learners’ investments in learning a particular dominant or non-dominant language. In light of these findings, this chapter concludes with a call to researchers to undertake further research on the social identification processes and investment in learning languages. This chapter also calls on educators to understand the identities of the linguistic minority students in order to respond to their needs so that they could invest meaningfully in learning institutionally legitimized languages.



I would like to thank Dr. Xuesong (Andy) Gao for his insightful feedback on the first draft of this chapter. I would also like to thank all anonymous reviewers for their comments on the draft.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina

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