Chapter

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

To understand the vibrant and increasing interest in identity and second language acquisition (SLA), it is important to understand changing conceptions of the individual, language, and learning in the field. Each of these areas is associated with broader trends in the social sciences, which represent a shift in the field from a predominantly psycholinguistic approach to SLA to include a greater focus on sociological and anthropological dimensions of language learning, particularly with reference to sociocultural, poststructural, and critical theory (Norton & Toohey, 2001; Block, 2007b; Morgan, 2007). SLA researchers who are interested in identity are interested not only in linguistic input and output in SLA, but in the relationship between the language learner and the larger social world. They question the view that learners can be defined in binary terms as motivated or unmotivated, introverted or extroverted, without considering that such affective factors are frequently socially constructed, changing across time and space, and possibly coexisting in contradictory ways within a single individual. These researchers have examined the diverse social, historical, and cultural contexts in which language learning takes place, and how learners negotiate and sometimes resist the diverse positions those contexts offer them.Keywords:esl/efl;educational linguistics;second language acquisition;sociolinguistics;identity;multilingualism

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... My first exposure to these notions came as a thrill and an intellectual shock because I had prioritized cognitive aspects throughout my life and this new worldview made me realize that social variables could be equally or even more powerful than cognitive variables. This quote of identity by Norton (2012), which I found in the first year of my Ph.D. journey, is a favorite: ...
Chapter
The research attention on how doctoral students construct and negotiate their identities is somewhat overlooked in the field of applied linguistics, despite its significant effect during and after doctoral education. The purpose of this two-year and a half-long autoethnographic study is to fill the existing gap by examining transformations of my own scholar identity, drawing upon the identity-trajectory framework as the theoretical lens (McAlpine et al., 2014). The current study also generates important implications for mentor-mentee relationships by illuminating how influential mentors’ guidance is on the mentee’s development of identity as a scholar. The findings suggest that my cumulative identity trajectory includes a change in my orientation towards the (a) social constructivist research paradigm with a critical lens, (b) qualitative methodology, and (c) research interests of second language (L2) writing. In addition, the change also included a projection of a more clearly defined (d) future professional academic self. Further analysis also revealed that the main contributors to those transformations were found to be faculty’s scaffolding in the department, the advisor’s nurturing role and racial positionality, and my multiple roles as a doctoral student.
... Research on investment and identity has been fruitful in the last 20 years (see Norton, 2012;Darvin & Norton, 2017, for overviews). An example is a study conducted by Anya (2017) during a 10-week intensive Portuguese study abroad program in Brazil. ...
... Darvin and Norton's (2015) conceptualization of positioning is also intricately related with identity; it explicates how with each new context the language users claim their voice and so position themselves in a discourse with other people and their ideologies. Darvin and Norton's concept of investment is equally important for understanding dimensions of identity in relation to the digital world, because it helps to explain how keen the second-language users are to engage in social practices through the target language (Norton, 2012). The concept of investment further explicates that in a situation of unequal power relations, the second-language user will modify their discourse, which in turn marks their identity in relation to that particular social context. ...
Article
Full-text available
Negative framing of the image of Muslims, especially after 9/11, has caused numerous Muslim communities to become apprehensive about the way their identity is presented in the mass media. One such community being affected by negative representations based on Islamophobia and other gender-related stereotypes is Pakistan. As a result, these misunderstandings are being addressed through the construction of alternative and contrasting online identities by Pakistani vloggers through digital media. This paper excavates the diversified constructions of vloggers' online identities using two theoretical approaches to explaining identity construction: micro-hegemonies and the investment model. Nineteen Pakistani vloggers were purposively selected for the study, who were observed over a period of two years using online observations, interviews, and email conversations, adopting a digital ethnographic approach. The investigation found that the vloggers choose to portray their religious practices, Pakistani identity, and local culture and norms while simultaneously utilizing Western norms to indicate their modernity. Moreover, they regularly emphasize that they are normal, regular human beings. Hence, the paper contributes to understanding how Pakistanis present a complex, hybrid identity which counters the dominant narratives in the media. K E Y W O R D S hybrid identity, Muslim identity, digital media, representation, vlogs
... This goal, however, is counter-productive as the underlying implication is an erasure of the learner's own culture for the sake of assimilating the target culture (Byram, 1997). Although culture is a fundamental component of language and identity (e.g., Cooper, He, & Levin, 2011;Jandt, 2010;Nederveen Pieterse, 2015;Norton, 2012), the integration of one's own culture with the target language culture enriches, rather than takes away from, the ability to communicate between cultures. The goal of language learning should be the ability to "communicate and interact across cultural boundaries" (Byram, 1997, p. 7). ...
Thesis
In the last two decades, language teaching around the world have shifted the place of culture from the periphery to the core, acknowledging that cultures shape language and how it is used. This has led to the development of intercultural language teaching. The benefits of this approach and how teachers understand and implement it are part of a growing field. However, few studies have addressed the issue of the influence of language teachers’ level of proficiency in this context. Language teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand schools are encouraged to follow an intercultural approach in their classrooms. In 2010, a report was published to provide language teachers with an intercultural communicative language teaching (iCLT) framework of principles to integrate culture into the teaching of languages (Newton, Yates, Shearn, & Nowitzki, 2010). The report focuses on the development of intercultural capacities to communicate empathetically and respectfully with people of different languages and cultures, rather than simply concentrating on language skills. This study investigated the relationships between language teachers’ conceptualisations of iCLT and their practices. Furthermore, it investigated whether teachers’ level of proficiency in the target language was related to their conceptualisations and practices. Subsequently, potential points of departure (i.e., opportunities) for language teachers’ development of interculturality in their classrooms are illustrated. These examples may also be useful beyond the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. Given that the iCLT framework (Newton et al., 2010) was influenced by intercultural theory from various contexts, this study is part of a global conversation around the implementation and development of the intercultural dimension in the language classroom. Qualitative data were gathered from semi-structured interviews, teachers’ reflections, and classroom observations of 16 language teachers of Chinese, Japanese, French, and Spanish (four of each) in Aotearoa New Zealand. Data were analysed using Newton et al.’s (2010) framework of principles as a lens for interpretation. The findings demonstrated an inconsistent relationship between conceptualisations and practices. Evidence of a principle in teachers’ conceptualisations was not a reliable indication of the principle in their practices, or vice versa. The data were also quantified to provide a visual depiction of teachers’ conceptualisations and practices, and the relative difficulty participants experienced with implementing aspects of the principles in their classrooms. As a contribution to the field of iCLT, the findings suggest that neither being a first language (L1) speaker, nor proficiency in the target language, ensured teachers’ implementation of iCLT. Across all languages and teachers’ levels of proficiency, participants generally demonstrated an implicit potential for intercultural teaching. Implicit potential is understood as unconscious, unplanned, and automatic abilities, conceptualisations and practices, attributes that were investigated to indicate teachers’ intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and iCLT. Furthermore, the target language did not appear to play a role in the development of the intercultural dimension in teachers’ classes. There was some evidence of the efficacy of teacher professional development on intercultural communicative language teaching, highlighting that professional development appeared to be most effective when interculturally targeted. Finally, another contribution of this thesis is an illustrative narrative for language teachers, constructed to summarise the complexity inherent in the iCLT principles; to demonstrate each principle’s inextricability from the others; and to facilitate their implementation. https://catalogue.library.auckland.ac.nz/permalink/f/t37c0t/uoa_alma21280604330002091
... The theme for this special issue is power and identity in education. My understandings of identity and power are informed by those who work in the area of critical applied linguistics such as Bonny Norton (1995Norton ( , 2012Norton ( , 2013, Alastair Pennycook (2001Pennycook ( , 2014, and Suresh Canagarajah (2001Canagarajah ( , 2005 among others. According to poststructuralist views, identity is complex, dynamic, in flux, and multi-faceted (Norton, 1995) because it is an evolving and changing process (Hamid, Jahan, & Islam, 2013). ...
... The theme for this special issue is power and identity in education. My understandings of identity and power are informed by those who work in the area of critical applied linguistics such as Bonny Norton (1995Norton ( , 2012Norton ( , 2013, Alastair Pennycook (2001Pennycook ( , 2014, and Suresh Canagarajah (2001Canagarajah ( , 2005 among others. According to poststructuralist views, identity is complex, dynamic, in flux, and multi-faceted (Norton, 1995) because it is an evolving and changing process (Hamid, Jahan, & Islam, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The present paper discuses the value of autoethnography as a research methodology in the area of language planning and policy in investigations of language, power, and identity. Traditionally, research methodology in the area of language planning and policy focuses on language, power, and identity from a sociopolitical perspective at the national level. These methodologies do not easily examine how the issues of language, power, and identity are related to the lives of individuals. Therefore, this paper argues for the use of autoethnography as a research methodology in language planning and policy research because it systematically analyzes personal experiences in order to understand the researcher’s cultural experience regarding her or his perspectives, beliefs, and practices of language as a language user. This paper also argues that autoethnography can be combined with traditional research methods such as historical-structural analysis and ethnography of language policy to make language planning and policy research more diverse and critical.
Article
Full-text available
Willingness to communicate (WTC) plays a pivotal role in second language learning (Clément et al., 2003; Kang, 2005;Yashima et al., 2004) because a high level of WTC may help learners achieve language proficiency (MacIntyre et al., 2003; Yashima et al., 2004). Therefore, MacIntyre et al. (1998, p. 547) asserted that the major goal of language learning should be WTC. Willingness to communicate in a foreign language is linked to a range of negative emotions (i.e., anxiety and boredom) and positive emotions (i.e., enjoyment and pride). Inspired by the shift from negative psychology to positive psychology in the field of second language learning, the present study aimed to investigate whether language enjoyment and anxiety are potential predictors of WTC. A group of 349 English as a foreign language (EFL) undergraduate students (female = 226, male = 123) enrolled at public Saudi Arabian universities were surveyed. Quantitative data were collected during one month. Descriptive analyses revealed above-average levels of WTC of theparticipants. Multiple regression analyses revealed that foreign language enjoyment (FLE) was a predictor of WTC but foreign language classroom anxiety (FLA) did not correlate significantly with students’ WTC. These results suggest higher levels of enjoyment may have neutralized the effects of anxiety on WTC, indicating the role of positive emotions. Implications for foreign language teachers are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Bilingual education policy in Liangshan, China, has been implemented since the end of the 1970s using two bilingual school models. This study examines how mainstream and bilingual education are correlated with the Yi population’s social attachment to the larger social system, and their cultural attachment to ethnocultural maintenance. The student-reported survey data collected from 10 junior high schools in Liangshan were analysed using a multinomial logistic regression model that produced three findings. Firstly, family socioeconomic status is determinant in the Yi minority’s school setting choices. Secondly, school settings are significantly associated with Yi students’ educational achievements and occupational expectations. Lastly, Yi minority’s cultural attachments to their mother tongue has become significantly reduced among those attending Chinese-only schools, yet no significant discrepancy has been noted among students attending schools with two models of bilingual education.
Article
There is a great deal of research literature that treats language learning as a process of identity construction, but relatively few studies have investigated so-called additional languages. This article presents interview and other narrative data from a single language learner studying French as an additional language in Hong Kong. Using the methodological approach of narrative inquiry, it explores the relationship between additional language learning and identity. The data show how additional language learning plays a significant role in identity construction, and the discussion highlights three aspects of this relationship. First, the process of learning is revealed as being one of growing intercultural awareness. This is seen as an identity-related disposition that can be used to deal with certain aspects of the learner’s own cultural environment. Second, the creative appropriation of an additional language is an affordance for identity construction, despite limited levels of conventional proficiency. Third, the significance of particular languages and their associated cultures is constructed in relation to other languages in the language ecology. In addition to illustrating these aspects of language learning in the age of globalisation, the article briefly considers the pedagogical implications of taking an identity-based perspective on language learning.
Article
Full-text available
This study employed a large-scale cross-sectional survey (n=443) to identify the structural relations among regulatory styles (motivations), identity changes and second language (L2) possible selves of Chinese students undertaking tertiary study in New Zealand. Three specific models were tested. Specifically, ideal L2 model revealed that integrated regulation had a substantial (positive) effect on ideal L2 self and had a small but significant indirect effect on ideal L2 self through additive identity change; ought-to L2 model showed that introjected regulation had a positive and substantial contribution to both split identity change and ought-to L2 self; and dreaded L2 self model demonstrated that external regulation had a positive and large contribution to dreaded L2 self. The models delineate the dynamic and interactive process of L2 learning development, which helps L2 learners to develop their identity and self so that they may develop an adaptive identity and a positive L2 self in their future L2 study. As a result of this study, it is suggested that the literature on L2 motivational possible selves should include Markus, H. & P. Nurius. 1986. Possible selves. American Psychologist 41. 954–969. ‘dreaded L2 self’ alongside Dörnyei, Z. 2005. The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. L2 Motivational Self System, because L2 learners’ motivations and self-identities seem to be multifaceted and complex.
Article
en The multiethnic population of Singapore speaks a wide variety of languages, only four of which hold official status. We consider sociolinguistic issues that arise in connection with Singapore's Mother Tongue (MT) education policy, in which children are assigned a course of language study based on their racial heritage. A survey of Singaporeans from various backgrounds indicates that those of mixed and/or minority heritage do not identify strongly with their assigned MT. Respondents of Chinese heritage differ considerably in their attitudes by ethnolinguistic background; overall, they show more ambivalence towards their assigned MT than respondents of Malay and Indian heritage. Our findings reflect the legacies of Singapore's government language campaigns, as well as a growing enthusiasm among Singaporeans for languages that index distinctive regional ethnic identities. Abstract zh 新加坡种族多样,语言众多,官方语言只有四种。新加坡儿童依据其种族承继进行特定的语言课程学习,本文旨在探究与新加坡母语(MT)教育政策相关的社会语言学问题。通过调查不同背景的新加坡国民,研究者发现混血和/或少数族裔受访者对官方指定母语(MT)并非强烈认同。华裔受访者对华语的态度也因其方言背景的不同而存在较大差异;总体看来,与马来裔和印度裔受访者相比,华裔受访者对官方指定母语(MT)持有较强的矛盾心理。本研究充分反映了新加坡语言运动中的承继问题。此外,对可表明某种特定区域族裔身份的语言,新加坡国民对其热情日益高涨。
Article
Internationalisation of higher education greatly facilitates cross-border student mobility, which has been extensively researched. This comparative study focuses on the relatively under-explored field of intra-regional educational mobility. It compares attitudes towards learning and using English of Mainland Chinese students and Hong Kong Chinese students while studying side-by-side at an English-medium university in Hong Kong. Using a mixed methodology the study found that the two groups expressed a similarly strong need for, and acceptance of, English as an academic lingua franca but expressed significantly different attitudes, needs and desires in relation to the use of English for social intercourse. The weaker presence of a social lingua franca was accompanied by perceptions of a lack of inclusivity. If, as is suggested in the literature, both social and academic integration are integral to the university experience, the findings reveal a lacuna in the learning environment of this and potentially other similarly internationalised universities.
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the foreign language learning biographies of six Finnish English speakers who reflect on their journey towards a bilingual identity. In this article language learning is examined as a process that is intrinsically emotional as emotion connects individuals with the world as well as being a movement within oneself. The data analysis is based on dialogical and narrative approaches. Through the analysis two key story types were named: Bilingualism as striving and Bilingualism as a gift. In the striving stories English was held up as an ideal, as a way of engaging with the wider world but moreover as a way of finding a better ‘me’. In the gift stories, English was experienced as a gateway to something other, whether a new community, sport, or music. The emotional intonation of these two story types varied considerably highlighting the importance of emotion within language education.
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the value of monocultural acculturation orientation to the host culture (assimilation) and bicultural acculturation orientation (integration) for language learning is critical in guiding educational policy and practices for immigrant students. This study aimed to enhance our understanding on the relationship between acculturation orientation and second language (L2) learning. It generated two conceptual models to describe how cultural identification affects language learning as hypothesized in different theories on identity and L2 learning and tested these two hypothesized models in the immigration context of Hong Kong. A survey was conducted among a group of senior high school South Asian minority students on their learning of the language of the host culture, Chinese, to provide the basis for comparison. It was found that the students mainly adopted the bicultural/integration orientation and that bicultural orientation was the optimal acculturation orientation for learning Chinese. Bicultural orientation influenced the participants' Chinese language learning outcome through impacting psychosocial well-being and engagement with the target language and community. The findings suggest that we need to take both linguistic and psychosocial adjustment factors into consideration when conceptualizing the role of identity in L2 learning. Furthermore, this study cautions us against a context-independent stance toward the utility of assimilation for language learning.
Article
This article discusses five college students' experiences in a simulated full-immersion, Arabic-speaking language village and the impact of that experience on learners' beliefs about the power of collaborative learning, the critical importance of cultural awareness, the efficacy of learning languages within a functioning community of practice, and the utility of role play and experiential learning. The article also shares students' insights into the value of both classroom and unstructured language learning opportunities and the contribution that such immersion scenarios can make as a stepping-stone into a full-immersion, long-term study abroad experience.
Article
Full-text available
Looking back at the past 15 years in the field of second language acquisition (SLA), the authors select and discuss several important developments. One is the impact of various sociocultural perspectives such as Vygotskian sociocultural theory, language socialization, learning as changing participation in situated practices, Bakhtin and the dialogic perspective, and critical theory. Related to the arrival of these perspectives, the SLA field has also witnessed debates concerning understandings of learning and the construction of theory. The debate discussed in this article involves conflicting ontologies. We argue that the traditional positivist paradigm is no longer the only prominent paradigm in the field: Relativism has become an alternative paradigm. Tensions, debates, and a growing diversity of theories are healthy and stimulating for a field like SLA.
Article
Full-text available
This Ugandan-based study examined how visual modes of communication provide insights into girls' perceptions of literacy, and open broader dialogues on literacy, women, and development. Twenty-nine primary school girls used drawing and 15 secondary school girls used photography to depict local literacy practices in relation to their own lives and experiences. The images they captured provide a window on the interface between local and global literacy practices, and the "freedoms" (Sen, 1999) associated with literacy. Drawing and photography move beyond language to make visible the barriers that have historically marginalized and excluded girls from full participation in the development process. /// Cette étude menée en Ouganda montre comment des modes de communication visuels permettent de mieux comprendre les perceptions qu'ont les fillettes de la littératie et favorisent le dialogue sur la littératie, les femmes et le développement. Vingt-neuf écolières du primaire et quinze du secondaire ont illustré, les premières par des dessins, les secondes par des photos, des méthodes de littératie locales en lien avec leur propre vie et leurs propres expériences. Ces images montrent l'interface entre les méthodes de littératie locales et internationales et les " libertés " (Sen, 1999) associées à la littératie. Au-delà du langage, les dessins et les photos rendent visibles les obstacles qui ont depuis toujours marginalisé les filles et les ont exclues d'une pleine participation au processus de développement.
Article
Full-text available
Through interpretive case studies, I report how, in an advanced Japanese literacy course, two Canadian university students from different enthnolinguistic backgrounds engaged in composing in Japanese quite different ways. The multiple sources of data, including the viewpoints they expressed in interviews and questionnaires, were examined qualitatively to create a comprehensive profile of each student. Using a theoretical and interpretive framework that builds on the constructs of community of practice, identity, and investment (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Norton, 2000; Wenger, 1998), I argue the following: (a) that learning a foreign language, including writing in a foreign language, is inextricably intertwined with students' life histories with respect to the target language, their changing identities, and their agency; and (b) that, in the more transient community of the classroom, students' differential modes of task engagement can be explained in terms of their movement between communities of practice, past and future.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we explore the complex and nebulous terrain between two theoretical concepts, imagined communities (Norton, 2000, 2001), that is, individuals' imagined affiliations with certain groups, and regimes of truth (Foucault, 1980), dominant images inscribed and reinscribed into individual consciousness until they become normative. Using the context of two research studies, one a critical narrative study of life-story narratives of L2 users and the other a critical feminist ethnography of beginning ESOL teachers, the researchers examine the ways in which social structures and contexts can behave simultaneously as tyrannizing regimes of truth and as liberating imagined communities. This inherent contradiction illuminates the ways in which the two theoretical constructs taken together can lead to a more complex and nuanced understanding of identity construction. Authors' names are listed in alphabetical order and do not represent any hierarchy.
Article
Full-text available
Although Firth and Wagner (1997) did not explicitly discuss the issue of identity in second language acquisition (SLA) research, their article was symptomatic of a general trend to open up SLA to social theory and sociological and sociolinguistic research, which in turn led some researchers to explore links between second language (L2) learning and identity. In this article, I discuss empirical research linking L2 learning and identity that has been published since Firth and Wagner. I begin with a discussion of the broadly poststructuralist approach to identity, which has become the approach of choice among researchers taking this line of enquiry. I then critically review key publications carried out in three distinct L2 learning contexts: naturalistic, foreign language, and study abroad. I conclude with some suggestions about future directions for identity-in-SLA research.
Book
Full-text available
What effect has globalization had on our understanding of literacy? Grassroots Literacy seeks to address the relationship between globalization and the widening gap between 'grassroots' literacies, or writings from ordinary people and local communities, and 'elite' literacies. Displaced from their original context to elite literacy environments in the form of letters, police declarations and pieces of creative writing, 'grassroots' literacies are unsurprisingly easily disqualified, either as 'bad' forms of literacy, or as messages that fail to be understood. Through close analysis of two unique, handwritten documents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jan Blommaert considers how 'grassroots' literacy in the Third World develops outside the literacy-saturated environments of the developed world. In examining these documents produced by socially and economically marginalized writers Blommaert demonstrates how literacy environments should be understood as relatively autonomous systems. Grassroots Literacy will be key reading for students of language and literacy studies as well as an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in understanding the implications of globalization on local literacy practices.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the transformative potential of a teacher's identity in the context of bilingual and second language education (SLE) programmes. The rst section examines several theoretical options by which this potential might be conceptual-ised. Drawing on post-structural notions of discourse, subjectivity and performa-tivity, the author emphasises the contingent and relational processes through which teachers and students come to understand themselves and negotiate their varying roles in language classrooms. Simon's (1995) notion of an 'image-text' further develops this dynamic, co-constructed understanding and shifts it more specically towards pedagogical applications: the strategic performance of a teacher's identity in ways that counteract stereotypes held by a particular group of students. These post-structural ideas on teachers' identities are then evaluated in reference to the knowledge base of bilingual and SLE. The author then proposes a 'eld-internal' conceptualisation by which such theories might be rooted in the types of practices characteristic of language education programmes. The next section of the article describes the author's personal efforts to realise these concepts in practice. 'Gong Li – Brian's Imaginary Lover' is a story of how the author's identity became a classroom resource, a text to be performed in ways that challenged group assump-tions around culture, gender, and family roles in a community, adult ESL pro-gramme serving mostly Chinese seniors in Toronto.
Chapter
Full-text available
Applied linguistics and poststructuralism offer varied perspectives on language, culture, and identity. The purpose of this chapter is to establish key theoretical and pedagogical contrasts, as well as to sketch out future areas of complementarity. Applied linguists tend to view language as a site in which social and cultural differences are displayed, whereas poststructuralists tend to view language as a vehicle through which differences between and within identity categories (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity) are created and realized. By extension, applied linguists often provide rigorous descriptions of particular features (e.g., pragmatic norms, literacy practices) that define minority identities and place students at potential risk. Such mappings, for poststructuralists, are illusory. Language is fundamentally unstable (cf. Derrida’s notion of différance), and identities are multiple, contradictory, and subject to change across settings and through interaction. Representation becomes acrucial area of debate here. Many applied linguists rightfully claim that academic achievement and social justice are advanced when non-dominant varieties of language are systematically described and valorized in schools. Poststructuralists correctly warn, however, that power relations are always implicated when we formalize particular language/identity correlations. Such representations are always shaped by discourses, and are hence “dangerous,” in that they potentially reify the marginal positions and practices that they name.
Article
In this article, Sandra McKay and Sau-Ling Wong argue for a revision of code-based and individual learner-based views of second-language learning. Their position is based on a two-year qualitative study of adolescent Chinese-immigrant students conducted in California in the early 1990s, in which the authors and their research associates followed four Mandarin-speaking students through seventh and eighth grades, periodically interviewing them, and assessing their English-language development. In discussing their findings, McKay and Wong establish a contextualist perspective that foregrounds interrelations of discourse and power in the learner's social environment. The authors identify mutually interacting multiple, discourses to which the students were subjected, but of which they were also subjects, and trace the students's negotiations of dynamic, sometimes contradictory, multiple identities. Adopting B. N. Peirce's concept of investment, McKay and Wong relate these discourses and identities to the students' exercise of agency in terms of their positioning in relations of power in both the school and U.S. society.
Article
Language and culture are no longer scripts to be acquired, as much as they are conversations in which people can participate. The question of who is learning what and how much is essentially a question of what conversations they are part of, and this question is a subset of the more powerful question of what conversations are around to be had in a given culture. (McDermott, 1993, p. 295)
Book
Prologue Part I. Practice: Introduction I 1. Meaning 2. Community 3. Learning 4. Boundary 5. Locality Coda I. Knowing in practice Part II. Identity: Introduction II 6. Identity in practice 7. Participation and non-participation 8. Modes of belonging 9. Identification and negotiability Coda II. Learning communities Conclusion: Introduction III 10. Learning architectures 11. Organizations 12. Education Epilogue.
Article
New theoretical approaches to the study of negotiation of identities in multilingual contexts. "The making of an American" - negotiation of identities at the turn of the 20th century, Aneta Pavlenko constructions of identity in political discourse in multilingual Britain, Adrian Blackledge negotiating between bourge and racaille - Verlan as youth identity practice in suburban Paris, Meredith Doran (Pennsylvania State University) Black Deaf or Deaf Black? being Black and Deaf in Britain, Melissa James and Bencie Woll (City University, London) mothers and mother tongue - perspectives on self-construction by mothers of Pakistani heritage, Jean Mills (University of Birmingham) the politics of identity, representation, and the discourses of self-identification, Frances Giampapa (University of Toronto) Alice doesn't live here anymore - foreign language learning and identity reconstruction, Celeste Kinginger (Pennsylvania State University) intersections of literacy and construction of social identities, Benedicta Egbo (University of Windsor) multilingual writers and the struggle for voice in academic discourse, Suresh Canagarajah (City University of New York) identity and language use - the politics of speaking ESL in schools, Jennifer Miller (University of Queensland) sending mixed messages - language minority education at a Japanese public elementary school, Yasuko Kanno (University of Washington).
Article
Drawing on the work of Norton Peirce, the author argues that traditional views of adult motivation and participation are limited because they do not address the complex relationships among adult learners’ identities, the social contexts of their daily lives, the classroom context, and investment in learning English. By focusing on the lived experiences of four Cambodian women, this research suggests the value of investigating the variety and commonality of adult experience within a single ethnolinguistic group. The findings go beyond social identity to address issues of cultural identity relevant to understanding participation in adult English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) programs. This analysis shows how shifting identities of these women at home and as current or future workers, and the ways these identities are connected to the work of the classroom, have much to do with their investment in participating in particular adult ESL programs.
Article
How have the ideas raised by Firth and Wagner (1997) influenced the construction of second language acquisition (SLA) theories? In this article, we take the position that prior to and since 1997, there was and has been a notable increase in SLA research and theory that prioritizes sociocultural and contextual factors in addition to acknowledging individual agency and multifaceted identities. This article focuses on 4 major influences on a growing body of SLA research: sociocultural theory of mind, situated learning, poststructural theories, and dialogism. We highlight aspects of these perspectives that have been used in SLA theory, and provide examples of research that illustrate the richness and complexity of constructs such as languaging, legitimate peripheral participation, subjectivity, and heteroglossia. These perspectives and constructs address Firth and Wagner's call for a reconceptualization of SLA by offering alternative understandings of language and language learning.
Article
This article presents a case study that uses ethnographic and discourse analytic methods to examine how electronic textual experiences in ESL figure in the identity formation and literacy development of the learner. First, the article reviews some recent work in literacy studies, L2 learning, and computer-mediated communication to provide a conceptual basis for studying discursive practices and identity formation in L2 learning. The results of a case study of a Chinese immigrant teenager's written correspondence with a transnational group of peers on the Internet then show how this correspondence relates to his developing identity in the use of English. This study develops the notion of textual identity for understanding how texts are composed and used to represent and reposition identity in the networked computer media. It also raises critical questions on literacy and cultural belonging in the present age of globalization and transborder relations.
Innovation in distance language learning and teaching has largely focused on developments in technology and the increased opportunities they provide for negotiation and control of learning experiences, for participating in collaborative learning environments and the development of interactive competence in the target language. Much less attention has been paid to pedagogical innovation and still less to how congruence develops between particular pedagogical approaches, various technologies and the skills, practices, actions and identities of language learners and teachers. In this paper I explore the process of innovation in distance language teaching from the point of view of key participants in the process, the teachers, and the ways in which their identities are disrupted and challenged as they enter new distance teaching environments. Innovative approaches to distance language teaching are analysed for the insights they provide into the sites of conflict and struggle experienced by teachers, experiences that have a major impact on their selves as distance teachers and on the course of innovation. To conclude I argue that attention to issues of identity can deepen our understanding of innovation, of the tensions that are played out in the experiences and responses of teachers, and of the ways they accept or resist the identity shifts required of them.
Article
Although the originators of the language socialization (LS) paradigm were careful to cast socialization as a contingent, contested, 'bidirectional' process, the focus in much first language LS research on 'successful' socialization among children and caregivers may have obscured these themes. Despite this, I suggest the call for a more 'dynamic model' of LS (Bayley and Schecter 2003), while compelling, is unnecessary: contingency and multidirectionality are inherent in LS given its orientation to socialization as an interactionally-mediated process. This paper foregrounds the 'dynamism' of LS by examining processes comprising 'unsuccessful' or 'unexpected' socialization. Specifically, it analyses interactions involving 'oldtimer' 'Local ESL' students and their first-year teachers at a multilingual public high school in Hawai'i. Contingency and multidirectionality are explicated through analysis of two competing 'cultural productions of the ESL student.' The first, manifest in ESL program structures and instruction, was school-sanctioned or 'official.' Socialization of Local ESL students into this schooled identity was anything but predictable, however, as they consistently subverted the actions, stances, and activities that constituted it. In doing so, these students produced another, oppositional ESL student identity, which came to affect 'official' classroom processes in significant ways.
Article
The article argues that Norton Peirce's (1995) concept of a language learner's investment should figure centrally in how instructors address the needs of adult learners in ESL classrooms. Investment is discussed in relation to second language acquisition research that addresses the role of social factors in second language acquisition. The article then expands on the nature of the relationship between an instructor and students in terms of engaging and sustaining investment in the target language. Finally, the article suggests directions for further research in applying the concept of investment to classroom practice.
Article
This article considers the implications of two central constructs of sociocultural theory (SCT) for second language (L2) development: mediation and internalization. It first discusses Vygotsky's general theoretical claim that human mental activity arises as a consequence of the functional system formed by our biologically specified mental capacities and our culturally constructed symbolic artifacts. It then examines some of the L2 research that has investigated the extent to which L2 users are able to deploy their new language for cognitive mediation. Specific attention is given to the mediational function of L2 private speech and to the synchronization of gestures and speech from the perspective of Slobin's thinking for speaking framework, a framework that interfaces quite well with Vygotsky's theory. The second general topic addressed, internalization, is intimately connected to the first. It is argued that internalization of the features of a L2 takes place through imitation, especially as occurs in private speech. Imitation, based on recent neuroscience and child development research, is seen as an intentional and potentially transformative process rather than as rote mimicking. The research documents that L2 children and adults rely on imitation in their private speech when they encounter new linguistic affordances. What remains to be established is the connection between the linguistic features of private speech and those deployed by L2 speakers in their social performance. Finally, the article proposes that the study of how L2 learners internalize and develop the capacity to use conceptual and associated linguistic knowledge should move to the forefront of SCT L2 research and argues that a productive way of realizing this agenda is through the union of SCT and cognitive linguistics.
Article
This book explores the experience of adolescents and young adults who learn a foreign language or use more than one language in daily life. Through ‘language memoirs’ and learners’ testimonies, it documents how these multilingual subjects occupy an embodied, socially and culturally inflected third place in language, filled with memories of other languages and fantasies of other identities. In its referential and mythic dimensions, language performs and creates subjectivities that these multilingual speakers use to conjure alternative worlds and virtual selves, both in real life and on the internet. Teaching to the multilingual subject would mean capitalizing on the potential playfulness, heightened reflexivity and aesthetic sensibility of the increasing number of people around the world who, by choice or necessity, experience life in several languages. Ce livre explore l’expérience des adolescents et jeunes adultes qui apprennent une langue étrangère ou utilisent plusieurs langues dans leur vie quotidienne. Comme le montrent les récits de vie et autres témoignages linguistiques, ces sujets plurilingues occupent un espace tiers, situé dans la langue et vécu comme réalité corporelle, sociale et culturelle, et où se retrouvent les traces d’autres langues et les rêves d’autres identités. Dans ses dimensions discursives et mythiques, la langue engendre des subjectivités qui permettent a ces locuteurs plurilingues de conjurer des réalités et des identités virtuelles, aussi sur l’internet. Une didactique du plurilinguisme devrait capitaliser sur le potentiel ludique, réflexif et esthétique du nombre croissant de ceux qui, par choix ou par nécessité, font l’expérience de la vie dans plusieurs langues.
Article
This article argues for a reconceptualization of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research that would enlarge the ontological and empirical parameters of the field. We claim that methodologies, theories, and foci within SLA reflect an imbalance between cognitive and mentalistic orientations, and social and contextual orientations to language, the former orientation being unquestionably in the ascendancy. This has resulted in a skewed perspective on discourse and communication, which conceives of the foreign language speaker as a deficient communicator struggling to overcome an underdeveloped L2 competence, striving to reach the “target” competence of an idealized native speaker (NS). We contend that SLA research requires a significantly enhanced awareness of the contextual and interactional dimensions of language use, an increased “emic” (i.e., participant-relevant) sensitivity towards fundamental concepts, and the broadening of the traditional SLA data base. With such changes in place, the field of SLA has the capacity to become a theoretically and methodologically richer, more robust enterprise, better able to explicate the processes of second or foreign language (S/FL) acquisition, and better situated to engage with and contribute to research commonly perceived to reside outside its boundaries.
Chapter
This chapter introduces the notion of imagined communities as a way to better understand the relationship between second language learning and identity. It is argued that language learners’ actual and desired memberships in imagined communities affect their learning trajectories, influencing their agency, motivation, investment, and resistance in the learning of English. These influences are exemplified with regard to five identity clusters: postcolonial, global, ethnic, multilingual, and gendered identities. During the course of this discussion, we consider the relevance of imagined communities for classroom practice in English education.