Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Portraits of Multilinguals on Social Network Sites: Identity Negotiation and Language Use
by Lemus, Linda Rafaela, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2018, 288; 10931985
Abstract (Summary)

This research examines the multilingual experiences of university Spanish and Portuguese language learning students, all of whom participate on social network sites (SNSs). This longitudinal study is primarily comprised of data collected from Facebook from each student's last semester in high school through their penultimate college semester. These case studies produced portraits through the review of an initial questionnaire, interviews, Facebook and other social media data using discourse-centered online ethnography (Androutsopoulos, 2008). An ethnographic case study methodology is practiced to present, describe and analyze how these university students negotiate their identity through translanguaging practices (García, 2009; Li, 2017) and their communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998).

This qualitative study asks: How do these three language learners of English-Spanish-Portuguese (2 heritage language and 1 second language Spanish; 3 third language Portuguese) use their languages on their social media such as the SNS Facebook? What are the roles of sociolinguistic agency, place and communities of practice in students’ language choices? Do students make space for the languages to coexist (translanguaging practices) in their shared posts? My research expands our understanding of heritage, second and third language students’ language practices and offers an examination of these students negotiating their experiences within their SNSs.

Few studies have researched language practices and identity of university students, especially of heritage language learners, on SNSs. Looking beyond language learning and SNSs in the classroom, this study explores the role that social participation plays in the language learning process (see Wenger, 1998) and looks at how the three students use their languages and agency to participate in online SNSs and navigate their spaces. This research offers an in-depth look at the importance of place and community in the negotiation of translingual identities and takes into consideration places such as the classroom, social media, and study abroad. It also takes into account the importance of social networks on identity construction to better understand the language practices of university students. This research moves from the how-to use SNSs in language learning to what practices language learners take part in their everyday language and SNSs use. The aim of the study is to better inform our language classroom practices and lessen the disconnect between what university educators suggest doing and what students would actually do on SNSs. The value of reducing this disconnect is to engage students to use their second and third languages in their everyday lives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: da Silva Iddings, Ana Christina, Carvalho, Ana Maria
Commitee: Fernández, Julieta
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Sociology, Language
Keywords: Identity, L2 & L3 language acquisition, Language learning, Multilingual, Social networks, Translanguaging
Publication Number: 10931985
ISBN: 9780438340381
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