Who Do They Think ‘We’ Is? Learners’ Awareness of Personality in Pedagogic Grammars


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

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates L2 English learners’ reactions to mixed personality in a pedagogic grammar. Personality refers to how authors represent themselves in a text and interact with their readers (e.g. personally via the use of personal pronouns or impersonally via the use of the passive, etc.); mixed personality occurs when an author switches from one option to another. In an experiment, 195 students from Hong Kong and Poland were asked to read a text in which the author switched from we to you. The expectation that this mixing would cause we to be interpreted as exclusive was not borne out; however, some students did attach negative attributes to you as a result of its proximity to we. Another finding was that awareness of the generic reference of we was higher than that for you. Writers of pedagogic grammars are encouraged to be more aware of the referential complexities of personal pronouns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-96
JournalLanguage Awareness
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2005


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