LINGUIST List 25.703

Tue Feb 11 2014

Diss: Sociolinguistics: Rezaei: 'A Longitudinal Investigation of EFL Learners' Identity Construction in the Iranian Context'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 11-Feb-2014
From: Saeed Rezaei <>
Subject: A Longitudinal Investigation of EFL Learners' Identity Construction in the Iranian Context
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Institution: Allameh Tabataba’i University
Program: English Language and Literature
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Saeed Rezaei

Dissertation Title: A Longitudinal Investigation of EFL Learners' Identity Construction in the Iranian Context

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Mohammad Khatib
Sasan Baleghizadeh
Fahimeh Marefat

Dissertation Abstract:

This study consisted of three phases including 1) model and questionnaire
development phase, 2) nation-wide survey phase, and 3) post-survey
interviews. The first phase of this study was exploratory in nature. In
this phase, a model and a questionnaire of language identity were developed
and validated for the Iranian context. In order to develop the model,
extensive readings of the literature on language and identity both in Iran
and abroad were executed. Based on the literature and consultations with
experts, a model with six components was hypothesized. In order to test and
validate the model, a questionnaire was developed and validated to tap the
components of the hypothesized model. The reliability of the questionnaire
based on Cronbach's Alpha was estimated 0.73 and exploratory factor
analysis along with content analysis confirmed the validity of the
questionnaire. Then, the model was tested by feeding the data from the
questionnaire (193 respondents) to the model. Structural Equation Modeling
(SEM) through AMOS 21 was utilized to test the model. The initial results
showed a poor fit model; however, the model was trimmed by removing one
item from the questionnaire and final statistical indices indicated that
the model was fit. In phase two, the validated 19-item questionnaire from
the previous phase was administered (both online and by hand) to 1851
English language learners from different parts of Iran. The results
indicated that the participants showed a moderate level of language
identity. In addition, the t-test results showed that there was no
significant difference between the language identity of the male and female
groups. However, there were significant differences among the participants
from different age groups and different language proficiency levels based
on the ANOVA tests and Scheffe post-hoc tests. The results of this phase
also showed that the participants favored American English (73.3%) as the
most interesting variety of English followed by British English (23.6%),
Persian English (1.6%), Canadian English (1.2%), and Australian English
(0.3%). In the third phase of this study, individual and focus-group
interviews were conducted with 30 English language learners recruited from
the second phase of this study. The results showed that Iranian English
language learners favor American English for its being nicer to the ear,
easier to produce, understandable, more widely acceptable, and more
prestigious. They also favored British English for its being classic and
polite. Some even said that Persian pronunciation would be OK as far as the
main purpose is communication. There were no clear reasons for the
popularity of Canadian and Australian English except for the countries
associated with them for living purposes. The results from this phase also
indicated that Iranian English language learners value English in Iran for
its economic, cultural, and social capitals. The results from this part are
discussed from Bourdieu's (1991) theory of language and power and how
English language brings language, social, and cultural capital with it.
Subsequently, in a meta-inferencing move the pedagogical and theoretical
implications of this study in sociolinguistics and anthropological
linguistics are discussed. The limitations and delimitations are
pinpointed; and finally some under-researched topics are provided for
further research.

Page Updated: 11-Feb-2014