French immersion (FI), one of the hallmarks of French as a Second Language education in Canada and mandated in New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially English/French bilingual province, is often the target of language ideological debates surrounding its purposes and expected outcomes. Yet, notably absent in FI scholarship has been a focus on the ideologies informing students’ investment in French, including what bilingualism might mean for their language learning and identity. In this article, we discuss nine Grade 8 French immersion students’ co-construction of language ideologies regarding bilingualism. In a focus group, these students created a promotional video regarding the merits of bilingualism whose audience was comprised of fictional peers in a predominantly Anglophone province. Our analysis was guided by Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of investment. We employed the tools of multimodal critical discourse analysis to consider the students’ construction of language ideologies through their video production. Through macro and micro analyses, we identified five primary ideologies: Bilingualism (a) is a matter of personal decision; (b) provides access to jobs; (c) provides access to economic capital; (d) provides access to Francophone communities of practice; and (e) provides access to symbolic capital. We discuss how the students have “remixed” the dominant provincial ideologies on bilingualism into their own, considering the implications of these ideologies on their investment in French. Finally, we suggest how multimodal practices provide a means to develop language students’ meta-cognition and expand their investment in their target language.
Results in L2 Journal Articles
Why learners return from study abroad (SA) with varying degrees of second language (L2) gains or differing attitudes towards the target language and culture remains an open question. This study employs theories of identity (Kinginger, 2013) and investment (Darvin & Norton, 2015; Norton Peirce, 1995) to examine the case of three learners of Spanish as they studied abroad in Spain. Interviews, journals, and language-use surveys were analyzed to understand how and why these learners’ investment in Spanish and in language learning opportunities shifted throughout their program. Pre- and post-SA speaking abilities tests in Spanish were used to measure how participants’ investments related to their L2 speaking development. The three case studies suggest that participants negotiate competing and fluctuating desires, identities, and investments that often lead to contradictory behaviors regarding their language learning and use while abroad. These opposing investments and identities stem from participants’ expectations of an idealized SA experience and their belief in the capital (Bourdieu, 1986) that Spanish may offer them back home and abroad. This study further finds that participants’ ongoing investment in learning and using Spanish relates to their L2 speaking gains post-SA.