15 May 2014

Bilingual Identities

Williams, Alan, and Charlotte Setijadi-dunn. "Visiting 'Home': Contacts With The Homeland, Self-Reflexivity And Emergent Migrant Bilingual Identities." TESOL In Context 21.1 (2011): 42-58. Education Source. Web. 15 May 2014.

The article “Visiting ‘Home’: Contacts with the homeland, self-reflexivity and emergent migrant bilingual identities” by Alan Williams & Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn  “Presents information on the feelings and experiences of two adult EAL learners learning English in the AMEP (Adult Migrant Education Program), in relation to their developing bilingual, intercultural identities.”(pg.1) it details how bilingual identities are achieve. The article presents us the journey of two individuals who migrate from their home countries of China and Colombia with their Australian spouses, to Australia, and during their process of learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) in their new home their identities were slowly changing. The two participants in the article Xiao Mei and Lila didn’t notice their change in identity until they visit their homelands, and notice the difference in their family dynamics. Xiao Mei explains how interesting it was noticing the changes in her identity, and even though she had an internal struggle with herself, she enjoyed her evolution. In Lila’s case before gaining her new identity she was not able to express herself without the help of her mother or older sister, with her new identity she is more confident and sure of herself. Williams and Dunn explain how identity is usually thought of in an anthropological way, and how identity should be thought of as “a fluid and continuous process of ‘becoming’ instead as a fixed and definable state of ‘being’” (pg.3). Williams and Dunn state how the fact that they moved to Australia being in an intercultural relationship, might have helped them move faster in the development of their new identities.

This article relates to my essay 2 topic, because it has to do with how different identities can be achieved by integrating oneself to a new language and culture, and how a new identity can help us rediscover ourselves. “Identity is a fluid and continuous process of ‘becoming’ instead as a fixed and definable state of ‘being’” (pg.3). This explains how you don’t need to have a set identity that as we grow so does our identity. In essay 2 Alexie shows that you can gain a new identity through a new language to him that new language was books and being able to read and write. Gaining a new identity doesn't always mean to give up who you were before, but it allows you to learn more about yourself.


  1. Excellent post, Homi! But don't forget to put the titles of journals in italics, such as TESOL In Context :-)