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COSMOPOLITANISM AND LEARNING ENGLISH: PERSPECTIVES FROM HYE LAN ALIAS JOANNE

Abstract

Situated against a backdrop constituted by the globalized flows of people (Appadurai, 1996), this paper examines the language acquisition dynamics of a young Korean woman learning English at an American university. By adopting a view of language as a form of semiotic reconstruction (Pennycook, 2007), I explore her attempts to gain membership in an imagined cosmopolitan community which values English proficiency and the ability to inhabit different cultural worlds. Drawing on data from interviews, home visits, and classroom-based interaction, and using positioning theory (Harré & van Langenhove, 1999), I demonstrate how her learning trajectory is characterized by a politics of recognition (Luke, 2009) as her learning enterprise becomes a case of recognized and misrecognized capital. By analyzing the micropolitical processes involved in learning English, this study seeks to contribute to a better understanding of cosmopolitan learners whose experiences have not been fully recognized, much less studied, in contemporary SLA research.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism, imagined communities, investment, symbolic capital, politics of recognition, positioning theory

How to Cite

De Costa, P., (2011) “COSMOPOLITANISM AND LEARNING ENGLISH: PERSPECTIVES FROM HYE LAN ALIAS JOANNE”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 18, p.55-76.

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Peter De Costa (Monterey Institute of International Studies)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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