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The Impact of Study Abroad on the Acquisition of Sociopragmatic Variation Patterns

The Case of Non-Native Speaker English Teachers


Anne Marie Devlin

This book investigates the study abroad profile of non-native speaker teachers of English, exploring the impact of studying abroad on the acquisition of sociopragmatic variation patterns and the relationship between such patterns and identity development.
Introducing the concept of ‘loci of learning’, the book provides a compelling insight into the relationship between the duration of study abroad and the intensity and diversity of access to the target language. It then proceeds to explore the impact of varying degrees of intensity and diversity of language contact on the development of sociopragmatic variation patterns through a micro-analysis of recorded learner discourse. Finally, it maps the correlation between these linguistic patterns and the enactment of a compound identity.
Linking ethnographic and quantitative data with extensive examples of learner discourse, the author offers a unique perspective on non-native speaker teachers of English. By turning the focus of study abroad research onto this group, who are not only learners but also disseminators of the language, this book fills a significant gap in current scholarship.
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Chapter 4: The Study


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The Study

This is a tri-partite study which aims to 1) establish a socio-biographical and submersion profile of the informants; 2) explore differential outcomes in the development of sociopragmatic variation patterns based on such profiles and finally, 3) map sociopragmatic patterns to the indexing of identity in discourse. The study adopts a poststructuralist approach to identity. By that I mean that the study recognises that non-native speakers, like native speakers, do not represent a single static identity; rather they are complex, compound identities with the necessity to ‘be’ and ‘do’ – i.e. to perform a multitude of identities within a single language code. Following Block (2009), perhaps the most effective means of analysing the enactment of identities is through sociopragmatic variation patterns. An examination of sociopragmatic variation patterns shows how a learner can ‘be’ a friend ‘doing’ having a chat, for example, or ‘be’ a parent ‘doing’ asking a teacher for advice about their child. Both situations require the learner to enact a different identity – equal-status, lower-status – and consequently to index those identities differentially in discourse.

With this in mind, the main research questions have been identified as:

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