Linguistic competence and professional identity in English medium instruction

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This study is part of a project designed to accompany the process of internationalization of German universities. We examine interactions between advisors and advisees conducted in the lingua franca English in two engineering programs. Using recorded office-hours interactions and interviews, we explore the way the professional identity of the advisors is affected in case their linguistic competence is noticeably lower than the lower-status actors. Due to the particular features of the education of German Engineers, we integrate both interactional micro- and macro-contexts in our analysis. The findings show that while macro-contextual social factors seem to play an important role, it is interactants’ use of self-help strategies to compensate for their linguistic lacunae that is crucial for preserving their identity in discourse.


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