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(Standard) English as second language: tribulations of self

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We problematize a common assumption (embodied in everyday practices of schooling) that learning (standard) English as a second language corresponds to acquiring a new code. Drawing on various literatures (poetry, post-modern writing, and [sociological] phenomenology) and our own lived experience of learning English later in life, we show how acquiring a new language leads to changing experiences of Self and Other. Because some research has shown that speakers of non-standard English experience clashes (symbolic violence) when they confront the standard registers of English at school, we extend our analysis to non-standard English as primary language. We call for a notion of literacy that allows students to negotiate dialects, registers, and, with it, their constructions of Self and Other.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2000

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