Identity Reconstruction And Reversal Conceptual Transfer

1416 words - 6 pages

Interestingly, all of the participants who already had the experience of living abroad claimed to have experienced RCT as a result of learning English, which makes it plausible to suggest that immersion in an ESL context plays a central role in experiencing reversal conceptual transfer. This verified Block (2007) who considers the findings from ESL contexts not unanticipated, taking into account the geographical movement and environmental, societal, and to some extent, psychological change of the communities of practice in which individuals participate.
The noticeable conclusion to be drawn from the justifications made by both group is that most of Iranian English-major students feel that ...view middle of the document...

So, due to the inequality of the exposure to the two languages, one cannot have two distinct equal identities for each language and cannot claim to feel closer to his or her L2 identity. Even in the limited time spent in school contexts, English is rarely used communicatively to contribute to students’ creation of new identities.” Besides, some participants assigned the phenomenon of having dual identities to lack of stability in one’s character—a negative feature. Some others, showing a patriotic orientation, claimed to be proud of having only one identity—the Iranian Muslim one
In contrast, the second group, which included a few participants (19 out of 110), considered themselves to have new L2 identities while communicating in English, although they regarded their L2 identities as a complement to their L1 one, rather than in conflict. This confirms Jabur's (2008) study, who concluded the same results. One of the participants explained that whenever she starts describing herself in Persian, the description goes on rather differently from when she does it in English. This makes her believe that she has constructed two distinct identities. Interestingly, all of the three participants whose mother tongues were other than Persian (i.e. a Lori, a Turkish, and an Armenian) claimed to have more than one identity. The Lori and Turkish one claimed to have two identities. Besides, the Armenian participant, as the only case of religious minority in the sample, pointed out that he sometimes feels he has even three identities: an Iranian, an Armenian and an English one. Since among these three participants, only the Armenian one claimed to have three identities, whereas the other two stated that they had two identities, it may be fair to conclude that religion may play a significant role in identity formation of the language learners, as the difference between the Armenian and the Lori and the Turkish participants is their religion. Such an analysis raises the question of whether people's religion or their mother tongue plays more important role in forming new identities for them.
On the other hand, it should also be noted that most of the participants who claimed to have two identities had already the experience of living abroad. This leads us to the following view: learning English as a second language rather than a foreign language does make a new identity for the language learner. This confirms other researches conducted in an ESL context (e.g., Belz, 2002; Kanno, 2003; Norton, 1995, 2000; Norton and Toohey, 2001, 2002; Pavlenko, 2001, 2003).
Those who felt two (or more) identities were asked to differentiate between the self-image of their English and Persian identities. They tended to favor their English identity in that it is 1.more flexible; 2.more attractive and disciplined; 3.more ebullient, excited and optimistic 4.more garrulous; 5.more self-confident, frank, and assertive and able to reject people’s requests; 6.more individualistic and...

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