Language acquisition and identity negotiation: Discursive positioning of Indonesian adolescents learning English

Usep Dedi Rostandi, Fajar Rohandy


In the ever-evolving landscape of language education, this sociolinguistic study covers the discursive positioning of Indonesian adolescents in the intricate process of learning English. Language acquisition is a multifaceted phenomenon, often intertwined with complex social, cultural, and identity dynamics. This study covers the linguistic and sociocultural aspects of how Indonesian adolescents position themselves and are positioned by others within the discourse of English language learning. It used a qualitative design and conducted in-depth interviews with a diverse group of Indonesian adolescents aged 14-18 from various socio-economic backgrounds and educational settings. The analysis is rooted in positioning theory, a theoretical framework to examine how individuals construct their identities through language and interaction. The findings reveal a multifaceted picture of how Indonesian adolescents position themselves within the context of English language learning. Participants often engage in discursive practices that reflect their aspirations and struggles in mastering English. These practices are influenced by their social backgrounds, the role of English in their lives, and the educational settings they are part of. Furthermore, the study found distinct patterns of positioning, such as the "striver" positioning, where participants actively seek to align themselves with proficient English speakers, and the "resistant" positioning, where they push back against the pressure to conform to English language norms. The analysis also highlights the role of English language materials and classroom dynamics in shaping the discursive positioning of Indonesian adolescents. The materials often perpetuate certain linguistic norms and ideologies, impacting how students perceive themselves as language learners. Classroom interactions, on the other hand, provide a platform for students to negotiate their identities in relation to English. There is a need for a more nuanced and culturally sensitive approach to English language education in Indonesia. 


Discursive positioning; English language learning; Indonesian adolescents; language education; sociolinguistics

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