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The Use of English as a Social Practice in a Multilingual and Multiethnic Society

Renganathan, Sumathi and Chong, Su Li (2007) The Use of English as a Social Practice in a Multilingual and Multiethnic Society. In: The International Conference On Social Sciences and Humanities (ICOSH'07), 13-15 March 2007, UKM, Malaysia.

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore how students from a multilingual and multi-ethnic community perceive the use of English as a social practice. Exploring the use of English as a social practice not only examines what the students do with the English language, but also investigates the meaning and values related to their activities in English, and the ideological positions implied in the use of English. We aim to explore how students from different ethnic backgrounds perceive the use of English as a social practice. This study is carried out in a private university in Malaysia where the medium of instruction is English. This study is supported by empirical data from questionnaires and loosely structured interviews. The relevant information was obtained from first year students studying for their degree. Two main theories underpinning this study are Wenger’s (1998) notion of communities of practice and Norton Peirce’s (1995, 2000) social theory of identity. The findings indicate an interwoven use of English Language, the ethnic language and the national language in the students’ interactions. This study also highlights that the status and role of the mother tongue language/L1 is important in determining the ESL students’ inclination to learn English.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Departments / MOR / COE:Departments > Management & Humanities
ID Code:3428
Deposited By: Dr Sumathi Renganathan
Deposited On:27 Dec 2010 03:12
Last Modified:27 Dec 2010 03:12

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