The discursive construction of college English learners' identity in cross-cultural interactions

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Abstract

There are abundant studies on second/foreign language learners' identities. However, there appears to be insufficient longitudinal research on the construction of learners' L2 identities in systematic interactions between fixed dyads in an out-of-class context. Adopting a critical discourse analysis framework (Fairclough, 2003) and suitably informed by discourse theory (Philips & Jogensen, 2002), this article explores how Chinese college students discursively constructed English learner identities in and through processes of interaction and how English learner and user identity and learner language use were mutually constructed. Learners were found to exercise their own agency to establish multiple and changing identities. Such learner identities were found to be constructed through discursive strategies that established oppositions and differences and sometimes were crafted in situ to fit the contours of the interactive setting. This article begins with a discussion of the constructs that guide the study and then provides an interpretation of interactional, interview and diary texts that takes account of the sociocultural context from which these were generated. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-333
JournalCritical Inquiry in Language Studies
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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interaction
discourse theory
dyad
discourse analysis
foreign language
Cross-cultural Interaction
Interaction
Discursive Construction
English Learners
Learner Identity
opposition
interpretation
interview
language
Group
student
L2 Learners
Longitudinal Research
Dyads
In Situ

Citation

Gu, M. M. (2010). The discursive construction of college English learners' identity in cross-cultural interactions. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 7(4), 298-333.