Identity, agency, and investment in Chinese students’ English naming practices

Robert Weekly, Shih Ching Picucci-Huang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The requirement for Chinese students to adopt an English name for the English language classroom remains a relic of a previous era, which is not only accepted but also desirable by some. This study reports on 357 Chinese English language students’ relationship with their English names in terms of the concepts of identity, agency and investment, using a questionnaire designed to gather both quantitative and qualitative responses. The study suggests that English names are moving toward a normative practice in mainland China, similar to the relationship that diaspora Chinese communities have with their English names. This can be regarded as a product of the internationalism experienced within China. However, the study also suggests that while students have the appearance of agency, this is mediated by the belief that the Chinese language is problematic for non-Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • agency
  • China
  • English learning
  • English names
  • Identity
  • investment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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