International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Chinese Students’ Person Identity and English Learning: A Qualitative Study of Chinese Postgraduates

This study investigated the relationship between Chinese students’ person identity and their English learning in the mainland of China. In-depth interviews were conducted, with five Chinese postgraduates being the participants. It was revealed that the students’ person identity expression was restricted by their unsatisfactory English proficiency, which indicates that it is difficult for them to keep an authentic self-concept while using English. Also, the students’ investment of time and energy into English learning after class was found to be rather limited, which is an important reason for their unsatisfactory English proficiency. Based on this study, it is suggested that Chinese students and teachers of English should be aware of the sociocultural context and the status of English as a foreign language in the mainland of China and increase the investment of time and energy voluntarily after class to improve the students’ English proficiency and sense of authenticity in using English.

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