Translanguaging Practices and Ideologies: Lao Students’ Identity Construction on WeChat and Facebook

Tingjiang GE, Yu HONG, Yunjin WANG, Juncai PANG, Jia LI


In the shifting paradigm of the world economy, China has become one of the popular destinations for international students crossing the border and receiving high education. To reinforce the regional cooperation between China and its neighbouring countries, China’s border provinces have been discursively constructed as the platform for intiating international communication. Given the transformed positioning of China’s Southwest provinces, Yunnan has turned itself into an educational hub receiving international students from Southeast and South Asia. Based on a longitudinal ethnography with five Lao students receiving China’s higher education between September 2019 and July 2021, this study examines the ideological meanings of their translanguaing practices on WeChat and Facebook. The multiple types of data were collected through participant observation online and offline, WeChat and Facebook screenshots and semi-structured interviews. The study finds that translanguaging practices are often deployed by Lao students during their stay in China and in Laos. Their translanguaging practices contain different language forms and patterns, and display various types of social meanings including the intertextuality of the local voice, the identity construction of language learners and global citizens, and the sociocultural inbetweenness. This study indicates that Lao students tend to perform their transnational identities online and their translanguaging practices intersects with social, cultural, political and economic factors.


Translanguaging; Language ideologies; China; Laos; Social media

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