Language Policy

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 191–207 | Cite as

Family language policy in English as a foreign language: a case study from China to Canada

  • Wei LiuEmail author
  • Xiaobing Lin
Original Paper


English as a foreign language is taught almost exclusively as a school subject in most parts of the world. However, reported in this autoethnography is our practice in family language planning in English as a foreign language (non-native to either parent). The personal narratives of our bilingual parenting experience focus on our decision making process, the concerns we encountered, our bilingual parenting practices, and our reflections on this journey. Our lived experiences shared in this study serve to shed light on such issues in family language planning as the formation of parental language ideology, the process of family language policy making, and the emotionality of bilingual parenting practice.


Family language policy Bilingual parenting English as a foreign language China 


  1. Adams, T. E., Jones, S. H., & Ellis, C. (2015). Autoethnography: Understanding qualitative research. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Adamson, B. (2002). Barbarian as a foreign language: English in China’s schools. World Englishes, 21(2), 231–343.Google Scholar
  3. Adamson, B., & Morris, P. (1997). The English curriculum in the People’s Republic of China. Comparative Education Review, 41(1), 3–26.Google Scholar
  4. Aitchison, J. (1998). The articulate mammal: An introduction to psycholinguistics. London & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Ashworth, M. (1992). Views and visions. In B. Burnaby & A. Cumming (Eds.), Socio-political aspects of ESL in Canada (pp. 35–49). Toronto: OISE Press.Google Scholar
  6. Baker, C. (2011). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matter.Google Scholar
  7. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin and London: The University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bateson, M. C. (1989). Composing a life. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bochner, A. P. (1997). It is about time: Narrative and the divided self. Qualitative Inquiry, 3(4), 418–438.Google Scholar
  10. Bochner, A. P. (2001). Narrative’s virtues. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(2), 131–157.Google Scholar
  11. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of language learning and teaching. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.Google Scholar
  13. Burnaby, B., & Sun, Y. L. (1989). Chinese teachers’ views of western language teaching: Context informs paradigms. TESOL Quarterly, 23, 219–238.Google Scholar
  14. Carroll, D. W. (1999). Psychology of language. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  15. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Coles, R. (1989). The call of stories: Teaching and the moral imagination. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  17. Cummins, J. (1979). Cognitive/academic language proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the optimum age question and some other matters. Working Papers on Bilingualism, 19, 121–129.Google Scholar
  18. Cummins, J. (2008). BICS and CALP: Empirical and theoretical status of the distinction. In B. Street & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education, 2nd edn. Vol 2, Literacy, pp. 71–83.Google Scholar
  19. Cummins, J., & Danesi, M. (1990). Heritage languages: The development and denial of Canada’s linguistic resources. Toronto: Our Schools/Our Selves Education Foundation and Garamond Press.Google Scholar
  20. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  21. Dill, B. T., & Zambrana, R. E. (2009). Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy, and practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  24. Ellis, C. (2007). Telling secrets, revealing lives: Relational ethics in research with intimate others. Qualitative Inquiry, 13(1), 3–29.Google Scholar
  25. Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An Overview. Historical Social Research, 36(4), 173–190.Google Scholar
  26. Fleras, A., & Elliott, J. L. (1992). Multiculturalism in Canada: The challenge of diversity. Scarborough, ON: Nelson.Google Scholar
  27. Genesee, F. (1985). Second language learning through immersion: A review of U.S. programs. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 541–561.Google Scholar
  28. Gill, S. (2007). Overseas students’ intercultural adaptation as intercultural learning: A transformative framework. Compare, 37(2), 167–183.Google Scholar
  29. Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hu, G. (2002). Potential cultural resistance to pedagogical imports: The case of communicative language teaching in China. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 15(2), 93–105.Google Scholar
  31. Hymes, D. (1964). Toward ethnographies of communication. American Anthropologist, 66(6 part 2), 1–34.Google Scholar
  32. Johnson, M. (1987). The body in the mind: The bodily basis of meaning, imagination, and reason. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  33. Johnstone, R. (2008). Teaching an additional language to children at primary school: Some evidence from other countries. Beijing: Beijing Normal University.Google Scholar
  34. King, K., & Fogle, L. (2006). Bilingual parenting as good parenting: Parents’ perspectives on family language policy for additive bilingualism. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 96, 695–712.Google Scholar
  35. King, K., & Fogle, L. W. (2013). Family language policy and bilingual parenting. Language Teaching, 46(2), 172–194.Google Scholar
  36. King, K., Fogle, L., & Logan-Terry, A. (2008). Family language policy. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2(5), 907–922.Google Scholar
  37. Krashen, S. D. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  38. Krashen, S. D. (1987). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. ‎Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall International.Google Scholar
  39. Lee, J, C. (1984). Chinese-English bilingual education: Parental attitudes and bilingual schooling (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Alberta, Edmonton.Google Scholar
  40. Li, L., Zhang, R., & Liu, L. (1988). A history of english language teaching in China. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Google Scholar
  41. Liu, D. (2008). A report on the development of basic foreign language education (1978–2008). Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Google Scholar
  42. Liu, W. (2014). Living with a foreign tongue: An autobiographical narrative inquiry into identity in a foreign language. Alberta Journal of Educational Research., 60(2), 264–278.Google Scholar
  43. Liu, W. (2016a). The changing pedagogical discourses in China. English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 15(1), 74–90.Google Scholar
  44. Liu, W. (2016b). The international mobility of chinese students: A cultural perspective. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 46(4), 41–59.Google Scholar
  45. Morrison, K. (2008). Education philosophy and the challenge of complexity theory. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(1), 19–34.Google Scholar
  46. Norton, B., & Toohey, K. (2011). Identity, language learning, and social change. Language Teaching, 44(4), 412–446.Google Scholar
  47. Nunan, D. (2001). Second language teaching and learning. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.Google Scholar
  48. Pennycook, A. (1989). The concept of method, interested knowledge, and the politics of language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 23(4), 589–618.Google Scholar
  49. Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Piller, I. (2001). Private language planning: The best of both worlds? Estudios de Sociolingüística, 2, 61–80.Google Scholar
  51. Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Roccas, S., & Brewer, M. B. (2002). Social identity complexity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(2), 88–106.Google Scholar
  53. Stern, H. H. (1983). Fundamental concepts of language teaching: Historical and interdisciplinary perspective on applied linguistics research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. In M. Cole & S. Scribner (Eds.), Mind and society (pp. 79–91). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Wang, Q. (2007). The national curriculum changes and their effects on ELT in the People’s Republic of China. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), The international handbook of English language education (Vol. 1, pp. 87–105). Norwell, MA: Springer.Google Scholar
  56. Whorf, B. (1956). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations