Imagined communities, language learning and identity in highly skilled transnational migrants: a case study of Korean immigrants in Canada

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Song, Hyekyung (Kay)
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With the global trend of transnational migration, a huge influx of highly skilled immigrants has been influencing Canadian society and economy. However, there is little literature that illuminates highly skilled migrants’ workplace experiences and their identities in terms of second language acquisition. This multiple case study explores three highly skilled Korean immigrants’ experiences, focusing on the interplay of their language learning, identity, and workplace communities. Grounded in the notion of “imagined communities” (Kano & Norton, 2003) and the theory of “communities of practice” (Lave & Wenger, 1991), this study analyzes the process of how highly skilled migrants have constructed their imagined workplace communities. By revealing the multiple dynamic negotiations co-constructed by the workplace contexts and the individuals, this study shows the interlocked relationship between second language learning, identity, and the given community. This study also argues the importance of membership and positive social arrangements in a community for language learning.
adult immigrant language learning, professional integration, Korean immigrants, workplace experiences