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Identities Constructed in Difference: English Language Learners in China

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Identities constructed in difference: English language learners in China
Michelle Mingyue Gu *
B4-2/F-15, English Department, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Taipo, Hong Kong, China
Received 19 August 2008; received in revised form 15 May 2009; accepted 1 June 2009
    Recently more and more scholars have paid close attention to the study of second/foreign language learners’ identities. Even so, for English learners in China, there are still little research of the constitutive effect of discourse on their identities. On the one hand, this study worked out the way of discursively constructing college students’ identities with the English learning experiences based on discourse theory. On the other hand, considering the specific learning community, the surrounding social environment and an imaged global community, it identified the differences of discursive strategies in the students’ identity construction. In a word, this paper discusses the constructs guiding the study firstly and then explains the extracts from interviews and diary studies in view of the socio-cultural context investigated.
# 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Identity; Difference; Discursive construction; English language learners; China
1. Introduction
    With the implementation of its Open Door Policy and shift towards a market economy in the mid-1970s, China has experienced exceptional economic expansion and become recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. At much the same time, there have been panoply of significant socio-cultural reforms, which has led to widespread education of English language in China. It should almost be said that Chinese has made every effort to learn and teach English. It was estimated that about 50 million Chinese studied English as a Foreign Language (EFL)in the 1980s, which means that dated to the 1980s, the number of EFL learners of China was larger than that of any other country in the world (Crystal,...


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