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An emergent English-mediated identity and a Chinese variety of WE

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Abstract

This paper will document an English-learning influenced transformation of self, as a shared experience amongst a community of its Chinese users. The study examines 84 English narratives on the English language learning (ELL) experience of undergraduate L1 speakers of Mandarin at three proficiency levels: Year II, Year III and Year IV. Identity, expressed in learners’ positioning on ELL, is assessed in its explicit, propositionally represented form, and its linguistically marked implicit counterpart. Implicit positioning is examined at the macro-discoursal level by acknowledging the choice of the narrative configuration, and therefore the perceptual mould, adopted for the capture of the ELL experience. It is also assessed at the micro-discoursal, sentential level in (1) the registered sense of agency over the learning, (2) the assumed responsibility for statements about the learning, and (3) the character of definition given to the learning. The cross-proficiency level assessment will show that overt and implicit positioning are in consonance in capturing a gradual adoption of an English-mediated access to the world, with resulting altered affiliations, affinities, and sense of being. The study traces the emergence of a Chinese community uniquely defined, in its own perception, by the use of the English language; hence its significance to the World Englishes enterprise.

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Keywords: English Language Learning (ELL); L2 pedagogy; Narrrative; identity assessment; positioning; ‘Ownership’ claim

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 30, 2020

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