Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530
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This article presents findings from a pilot study that aimed to examine Chinese international students’ linguistic identity changes in relation to their English as a lingua franca (ELF) experience and their multilingual competencies in Germany. Data were collected through two rounds of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with seven Chinese postgraduate students over a period of three to five months, with email reports as a supplementary method. A phenomenological approach was then used to interpret four students’ study-abroad experience by looking at relationships among language, identity, and context. The findings suggest that most of the ELF-users demonstrated positive transformation of linguistic identities within the university setting, but ELF also led to a role of ‘bystander’ in German society. The Chinese students’ multilingual identity development demonstrated diverse features and various reasons for this were identified, such as the context in which their social interaction took place, the perceived power relationships between speakers, and the extent of their multilingual competencies.


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