Multilingual Identity Construction: Some Evidence from Ukrainian Students of English in Poland

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Joanna Rokita-Jaśkow


  1. Language constitutes an important construct shaping one’s identity, i.e. defines

one as a legitimate member of a particular group of speakers. However, a question about the group membership in case of multilingual speakers can be raised. Taking Ukrainian students of English in Poland as an example of multilingual speakers, the article scrutinises the construction of multilingual identity from the poststructural per- spective [Norton 2013; Pavlenko & Norton 2019]. The purpose of the study was to investigate what languages they associate their identity with, now and in the future (“aspired identities”). Additionally, it aims to show how identities are consciously constructed and influenced by motivation to learn particular languages. The data an- alysed in the study was derived from oral interviews with four multilinguals. Their analysis allows to conclude that the aspiration to belong to the global community is typical of young multilinguals, for which knowledge of lingua franca English, as well as Russian, are seen as assets, although the national identity is strongly connected with their mother tongue i.e. Ukrainian. A different stance is observed in the forth case, a mature multilingual, whose identity seems to be stable and language learning motives purely instrumental.


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Linguistics, glottodidactics