Exploring second language speakers’ linguistic identities in ELF communication : a Hong Kong study

Chit Cheung SUNG

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

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a qualitative inquiry that investigated a group of Hong Kong university students’ perceptions of their linguistic identities in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) communication. The participants of the study were proficient second language (L2) speakers of English who reported to have participated in intercultural ELF communication on a regular basis. By analyzing data gathered via two rounds of in-depth interviews, the study revealed that these participants did not evaluate their “non-native” status negatively but embraced their identities as legitimate and empowered speakers of English in ELF interactions. In addition, they validated their identities as multilingual, multicompetent, and translingual speakers of English with the ability to draw upon a diverse set of multilingual resources flexibly in ELF contexts. The analysis also found that these participants’ linguistic identities were constructed and negotiated in relation to the perceived linguistic competence of other ELF speakers, especially L2 speakers of other cultural/national backgrounds. This paper sheds light on the complexity of linguistic identities in ELF contexts and contributes to the growing ELF research in the Asian context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-332
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of English as a Lingua Franca
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


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