Identities constructed in difference: English language learners in China

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A large number of studies have been carried out on second/foreign language learners’ identities, but there seems to be insufficient research on the constitutive effect of discourse on L2 learners’ identities, especially among English learners in China. Informed by discourse theory, this study explored how college students’ identities were discursively constructed in and through their English learning experiences. This study identified the discursive strategies of establishing oppositions and differences that the students adopted in identity construction as they interacted within the specific learning community, the surrounding social environment and an imagined global community. The paper starts by discussing the constructs that guide the study and then provides an interpretation of the extracts from interviews and diary studies in a way that takes account of the socio-cultural context in which the investigation takes place. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


Gu, M. M. (2010). Identities constructed in difference: English language learners in China. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(1), 139-152.


  • Identity
  • Difference
  • Discursive construction
  • English language learners
  • China


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