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Title page for ETD etd-11192012-162807

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Dessein , Eva Marguerite Suzanne
Author's Email Address ed7@williams.edu
URN etd-11192012-162807
Title Learner identity construction in multilingual contexts: A case study of the study abroad experience.
Degree PhD
Department French
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Professor Virginia M. Scott Committee Chair
Dr. Todd Hughes Committee Member
Professor Claire Smrekar Committee Member
Professor Holly Tucker Committee Member
Professor Lynn Ramey Committee Member
  • L2 learning
  • study abroad
  • multilingualism
  • identity
Date of Defense 2012-08-17
Availability unrestricted
It is generally assumed that the study abroad experience leads to increased proficiency in the target language. However, research on students’ linguistic gains during and after studying abroad is inconclusive. This dissertation investigates the non-linguistic effects on study abroad participants and more specifically the impact of the sojourn abroad on learner identity development.

This qualitative case study investigates the study abroad experience of four participants through e-journaling. The analysis of the data relies on a sociocultural theoretical framework that draws from Cook’s (2009) notion of the multicompetent L2 user, Kramsch’s (1998, 2009) work on Third Space, as well as Norton’s notion of investment (1997). The participants’ language stories grant access to the unique dynamics they navigate in the study abroad context. This process impacts the ways in which they perceive their role both in the target community and among their peers. The study investigates which factors are conducive to promoting the development of extra linguistic skills and highlights how this process helps to shape unique multicultural speakers.

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