A Sociolinguistic Inquiry of American Study Abroad Students in China 

This project aims to investigate and document the authentic language use among American study abroad students in China. Research has shown that study abroad students often lack the opportunities or the sociolinguistic competence to interact with the local people when abroad. This project draws upon the language socialization theory to examine how American study abroad students use language to construct and normalize cultural identities when they interact with their Chinese peers and/or host families – especially the identity of place. With many regional linguistic varieties and accents, China is sociolinguistically very diverse. This project compares and contrasts students’ study abroad experience in two Chinese cities: Beijing (a traditionally Mandarin-speaking city) and Shanghai (a non-Mandarin speaking city). By including their everyday language use in both the school (the dorm) and the home (homestays) settings, the data will yield implications for future projects regarding the incorporation of sociolinguistic complexities in foreign language teaching.