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Title: Adult second language learning in an English urban context : issues of identity
Author: Rodriguez-Tsuda, Luz del Alama
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 7370
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2010
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Informal language learning among adults is a key aspect of wider 21 si century processes of globalization and migration (Norton 2000, Pavlenko and Blackledge 2001). This thesis reports an ethnographic case study of six adult female learners of English as a second language (L2) from different linguistic backgrounds, who have been living continuously in a southern English city for two years on average. The motivation for the study is to explore how gender, identity and social context interrelate and influence the second language learning (SLL) process. The investigation is grounded in a combination of poststructuralist theory and activity theory, with addition of two social psychological theories. Norton's (2000) concept of 'investment' is fundamental, specifically: a) for its application of some of Bourdieu's (1977) concepts to SLL; b) for its inclusion of the L2 learner's feelings and perceptions. From a methodological perspective, Engestrom's (1999) 'activity systems triangle' has been used to identify investment in SLL through activity (i .e. what the learner is doing to achieve her SLL goals and using which artifacts), as well as the social networks and relationships in which the learner is involved. Social psychological theories of identity hierarchisation have been used to further explore the relationship between identity and investment (Turner and Stets 2005) Data collection lasted nine months, and involved a) interviewing (in-depth interviews every six weeks with each of the ladies, plus an interview with their partners; b) participant observation (observations of interactions using English between each lady and others in leisure events); c) testing: Each lady took the computer-adaptive language test DIALANG (AL TE 2007) on two occasions, at the beginning and end of the data collection period. The case study documents the intersection between two sets of interrelated elements linked to the SLL process: on the one hand, the investment the ladies made to acquire English as a form of cultural capital (Bourdieu 1986), meaning their activity using the recourses available to them. Identity was also significantly involved in such processes. On the other hand, the influence of gender in their interactions with English native speakers is also documented, including the role of the participants' partners as mediators between the ladies and the social context. The results show that all the ladies made progress but to differing degrees, and this variation is explained by the interaction between the above mentioned elements
Supervisor: Mitchell, Rosamond Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HT Communities. Classes. Races ; LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education ; PE English