Being and Becoming "A New Immigrant" in Canada: How Language Matters, or Not

Huamei Han*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a four-year ethnography and informed by poststructuralist theories of identity and language, this article examines how, through lived settlement experiences in Canada, a young man from Mainland China gradually became an immigrant in the folk sense of the term. Though he was considered a success in terms of the diaspora community, he was disempowered in the host society. Highlighting one vignette, I illustrate how he came to understand that language, in the form of various texts and everyday interactions, constitutes an important terrain upon which socioeconomic inequality and immigrant identity are negotiated, resisted but reproduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Canada
  • Chinese diaspora
  • language and identity
  • skilled immigrants
  • texts and interactions


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