Accessing English and networks at an English-medium multicultural church in East Canada

an ethnography

Huamei Han*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Drawing from a larger ethnography of skilled Chinese immigrants' language learning during settlement in Toronto, this article explores the role of informal interactions in facilitating immigrants learning English as a second language and settlement. Examining various activities and networks available at an English-medium multicultural church, this article focuses on one immigrant couple's access to participation and to various linguistic practices therein. Building on the theory of communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and the notion of forms of capital (Bourdieu, 1986, 1997), I illustrate how extensive opportunities to interact informally with three types of members enabled this couple to use and learn English and to construct positive identities and build networks, which were essential for their settlement. Implications for immigrant language training are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)220-245
    Number of pages26
    JournalCanadian Modern Language Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


    • Canada
    • church
    • English as a second language
    • ethnography
    • immigrant language training
    • skilled Chinese immigrants

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