Experiences and identities in ELF communication : insights from Hong Kong students' written narratives

Chit Cheung, Matthew SUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines a group of Hong Kong university students' experiences and identities in English as a lingua franca (ELF) communication. As part of a larger research study, this paper analyzes narratives written by eighteen English majors at a Hong Kong university on their experiences of communicating through ELF. The findings show that these students had generally positive experiences and reported achieving mutual understanding through ELF by employing various communicative strategies. The analysis also points to the complexity of the students' identity formation in ELF communication. As a result of their perceptions of the unequal power relations between native and non-native speakers of English, these students were found to perceive themselves in an inferior position when interacting with native speakers of English in ELF communication. Moreover, the students were found to reveal ambivalence in the perceptions of their identities in ELF communication, owing to their struggle over the competing desires of appropriating a native-speaker accent commonly associated with prestige and retaining some traces of their own accent in an attempt to maintain their lingua-cultural identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-320
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Asian Pacific Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Ambivalence
  • English as a lingua franca
  • English major
  • Hong Kong
  • Identities
  • Power


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