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‘we never had English until we came in Ireland like…zip’: the influence of discourse communities

Ní Mhocháin, R (2014) ‘we never had English until we came in Ireland like…zip’: the influence of discourse communities. In: 20th Symposium on Research in Applied Linguistics, 6-7 November 2014, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogota, Colombia.

Abstract

This paper, which is part of a data driven study utilising ESL (English as a Second Language) focus group data, explores the language used by the participants and asks the question can discourse communities influence language choice? The focus group discussion revolved around the participants’ experiences in both their language learning journey and their language use in Ireland. Participants were encouraged to share stories of their experiences, both the good and the bad, and detail their language learning influences as they saw them. Four focus groups were held each lasting between 60-90 minutes with 4-6 participants in each group totalling 20 participants overall. Two focus groups involved participants who were continuing to take language classes in Ireland as they felt their language was not sufficiently proficient for them to live a ‘normal’ life. The other two groups were made up of participants who were no longer taking language classes and living a ‘normal’ life in Ireland with little difficulty i.e. holding jobs, rearing children and socialising in the community. The length of time they had all been in Ireland varied from 6 months to 9 years with an average of 5 years. Corpus Linguistics (CL) is a key approach used in this study and is combined with Discourse Analysis (DA) in an iterative process which is aided by using Wmatrix, an online corpus tool. The paper outlines some of the initial findings of this on-going research and is likely to pose more questions than answers for ESL and discourse analysis studies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2015 12:23
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 10:39
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/5142
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