Becoming audible: Social identity and second language use

Miller, Jennifer (1999) Becoming audible: Social identity and second language use. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 20 2: 149-165.

Author Miller, Jennifer
Title Becoming audible: Social identity and second language use
Journal name Journal of Intercultural Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0725-6868
Publication date 1999-10
Volume 20
Issue 2
Start page 149
End page 165
Total pages 17
Place of publication London
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 1999
Language eng
Subject C1
330103 Sociology of Education
751005 Communication across languages and cultures
Abstract The acqulSltlOn of English as a second language is routinely identified by teachers and others as the major hurdle to mainstream integration ofstudents of non-English speaking backgrounds. Although it has long been recognised that language and issues of identity are closely bound together, educational researchers have produced -licele systematic evidence of how migrant students actually construct social identity as they are learning English. In what sense is learning a new language related to the construction of a 'new' identity? To what extent does the construction of identity depend on 'being heard'? This paperfocuses on the relationship between the acquisition of English as a second language by migrant students and the expression of social identity, particularly in the context of school. The paper begins by outlining a simple theoretical model which conceptualises links between issues of language use and identity. Next, data from interviews with three students from non-English speaking backgrounds in Queensland high schools are used to trace the pathways of these students from arrival to full mainstream integration in high school, and to explore the dynamic relationship between discourse and the construction ofidentity. It will be shown that language acquisition and use, institutional contexts and identity work are vitally integrated.
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Education Publications
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 15:11:17 EST