Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


Teachers and learners can hold differing ideas about language and goals for language learning which are then played out in classroom interactions. Constructions of what counts as language and learning impact on learner engagement and identity and the outcomes of language learning. This study analyses a researcher’s account of the learning of Arabic in three different contexts. Data consist of journals, reflective notes and document collection and are analysed using content and thematic analysis. The study found that conflicting views of language impacted on learner engagement and on the identity positions available to learners, especially to background speakers. It argues that the constructions of language and identity positions offered to learners need to be taken into account in language classrooms for language learning and teaching to be effective.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Abd-el-Jawad, H.
    (1992) Is Arabic a pluricentric language?In M. Clyne , (Ed.), Pluricentric languages: Differing norms in different nations (pp.261–303). Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Language spokenat home RetrievedOctober 21, 2011fromwww.censusdata.abs.gov.au/.
  3. Abu Rabie, S.
    (1997) Reading in Arabic Orthography: The effect of vowels and context on reading accuracy of poor and skilled native Arabic readers. Reading and Writing, 9, 65–98. doi: 10.1023/A:1007962408827
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007962408827 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bailey, K. M.
    (1983) Competitiveness and anxiety in adult second language learning: Looking at and through diary studies. In H. W. Seliger & M. H. Long , (Eds.), Classroom oriented research in second language acquisition (pp.61–103). Rowley, Mass: Newbury Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Beeston, A. F. L.
    (1970) The Arabic language today. London: Hutchison & Co.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bell, J. S.
    (1995) The relationship between L1 and L2 Literacy: some complicating factors. TESOL Quarterly, 29(4), 121–145. doi: 10.2307/3588170
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3588170 [Google Scholar]
  7. Blommaert, J.
    (1999) Reconstructing the sociolinguistic image of Africa. Grassroots writing in Shaba (Congo). Text, 19(2), 175–200.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Briggs, C.
    (1986) Learning how to ask: A sociolinguistic appraisal of the role of the interview in social science research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139165990
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139165990 [Google Scholar]
  9. Campbell, S. , Dyson, B. , Karim, S. & Rabie, B.
    (1993) Unlocking Australia’s language potential: Profiles of nine key languages in Australia. Volume1 – Arabic. Canberra: NLLIA.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Clyne, M. & Fernandez, S.
    (2008) Community languages in Australia. In M. Van Deusen-Scholl & N. Hornberger , (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of language and education: Second and foreign language education (2nd ed.) (Vol.4) (pp.169–181). Springer Science and Business Media. doi: 10.1007/978‑0‑387‑30424‑3_97
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_97 [Google Scholar]
  11. Djite, P.
    (1994) From language policy to language planning. Canberra: NLLIA.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Farah, I.
    (1998) Sabaq: Context of learning literacy for girls in rural Pakistan. In A. Durgunoglu & L. Verhoeven , (Eds.), Literacy development in a multilingual context: Cross cultural perspectives (pp.249–266). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Field, M. & Aebersold, J.
    (1990) Cultural Attitudes towards reading: Implications for teachers of ESL/bilingual readers. Journal of Reading, 33, 406–410.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Gregory, E.
    (1998) Siblings as mediators of literacy in linguistic minority communities. Language and Education, 12(1), 33–45. doi: 10.1080/09500789808666738
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09500789808666738 [Google Scholar]
  15. Gregory, E. & Williams, A.
    (2000) City literacies: Learning to read across generations and cultures. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Heller, M.
    (2007) Bilingualism: A social approach. London: Palgrave MacMillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230596047
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230596047 [Google Scholar]
  17. Holes, C.
    (1995) Modern Arabic: Structures, functions and varieties. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Holliday, A.
    (2005) The struggle to teach English as an international language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Ibrahim, M. H.
    (1983) Linguistic distance and literacy in Arabic. Journal of Pragmatics, 7, 507–515. doi: 10.1016/0378‑2166(83)90078‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(83)90078-4 [Google Scholar]
  20. Jones, F.
    (1995) Learning an alien lexicon: a teacher yourself case study. Second language Research, 11(1), 95–111. doi: 10.1177/026765839501100202
    https://doi.org/10.1177/026765839501100202 [Google Scholar]
  21. Kaye, A.
    (1990) Arabic. In B. Comrie , (Ed.), The world’s major languages (pp.560–577). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Kumaravadivelu, B.
    (2006) TESOL Methods: Changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 59–81. doi: 10.2307/40264511
    https://doi.org/10.2307/40264511 [Google Scholar]
  23. Lantolf, J. & Genung, P.
    (2002) I’d rather switch than fight: An activity-theoretic study of power, success and failure in a foreign language classroom. In C. Kramsch , (Ed.), Language acquisition and socialisation: Ecological perspectives (pp.177–196). London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Lowe, T.
    (1987) An experiment in role reversal: teachers as language learners. ELT Journal, 41(2), 41–50. doi: 10.1093/elt/41.2.89
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/41.2.89 [Google Scholar]
  25. Makoni, S. & Pennycook, A.
    (2005) Disinventing and (re)constituting languages. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 2(3), 137–156. doi: 10.1207/s15427595cils0203_1
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15427595cils0203_1 [Google Scholar]
  26. Norton Peirce, B.
    (1995) Social identity, investment and language learning. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 9–31. doi: 10.2307/3587803
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3587803 [Google Scholar]
  27. Pavlenko, A. & Blackledge, A.
    (Eds.) (2004) Negotiation of identities in multilingual contexts. Multilingual Matters: Clevedon.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Pennycook, A.
    (2010) Language as a local practice. Routledge: Milton Park, Abingdon, UK.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Rivers, W.
    (1983) Communicating naturally in a second language. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Romaine, S.
    (1994) Language in society: An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Sarroub, L.
    (2002) In betweenness: Religion and conflicting visions of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(2), 130–148. doi: 10.1598/RRQ.37.2.2
    https://doi.org/10.1598/RRQ.37.2.2 [Google Scholar]
  32. Savignon, S.
    (1983) Communicative competence: Theory and classroom practice. Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Schmidt, R. & Frota, S.
    (1985) Developing basic conversational ability in a second language: A case study of an adult learner of Portuguese. In R. Day , (Ed.), Talking to learn: Conversation in second language acquisition (pp.237–326). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Schumann, F. & Schumann, J.
    (1977) Diary of a language learner: An introspective study of second language learning. In H. Brown , C. Yorio & R. Crymes , (Eds.), On TESOL ‘77: Teaching and learning English as a Second Language: Trends in research and practice (pp.241–249). Washington: TESOL.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Wagner, D.
    (1993) Literacy, culture and development: Becoming literate in Morocco. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Walters, K.
    (1996) Diglossia, linguistic change and language variation in Arabic. In M. Eid , (Ed.), Perspectives on Arabic linguistics VIII (pp.157–197). Philadelphia: John Benjamin. doi: 10.1075/cilt.134.12wal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.134.12wal [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error