Language, Culture, and Identity Development in Adolescence: A Case Study of a Sixteen-Year-Old Multilingual Boy


  • Jung Han
  • Hyeong Kyun Park Purdue University



identity, language minority, adolescence, heritage language


A language learner has a complex social identity, which should be understood in a larger social context and interactions. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between language and identity development through narrative inquiry. The participant of this case study is a sixteen-year-old Korean boy who speaks three languages and has been educated in the United States from kindergarten to high school.  The results indicate that the child, who was exposed to multiple languages and raised by a family of immigrants, identifies himself in between different languages and cultures. Additionally, the linguistic and cultural identity of the participant was found to have influenced his heritage language maintenance. Finally, it was found that socio-cultural awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity impacted his multilingual competency during his adolescence.


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— Updated on 2020-11-24