Case Study 2
Language Choice of Chinese/English Speakers
In the last two decades, slightly over one million ethnic Chinese
have settled in Canada. Most immigrants learn English and/or French
in order to help them integrate into Canadian society. Even though
there is a desire to integrate, the Chinese-Canadian community also
wants to retain its culture and language.
Researchers examined the language choice and language switching
patterns of a subgroup of the Chinese-Canadian community: Cantonese-speaking
Chinese who arrived from Hong Kong in the 1980s. This research increases
society's understanding of the relationship between language choice
and language switching patterns as well as the wider social norms
of the community to which the speakers belong.
Data were collected using participant observation of 60 speakers
from 11 families. An audiotape was used to record 25 hours of spontaneous
conversation in the families' homes. Data were analyzed in terms
of the language choice patterns at the generational level, and language
switching at the intergenerational level.
Families were recruited through the local Chinese community association.
The study's principal investigator was an active member of a Chinese
community association for a number of years prior to the commencement
of the study. During this time, she developed extensive contacts
within the local Chinese community. Such involvement within the
community made the researcher acceptable as an observer of family
communication and less likely to affect the data collected.
How might concern for the fair distribution of potential
benefits and risks of harm influence the design and conduct
of this study?
Might women be excluded from this research, either directly
Might those who are incompetent to consent for themselves
be excluded from this research, either directly or indirectly?