Through the looking glass of the language ego:the search of the english-speaking self in adult language learners

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Galetcaia, Tatiana
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Dynamics of the second language learner’s identity interests researchers in the field of applied linguistics who explore the ways in which self-identification is constituted by language. Application of psychoanalytic theories in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is assumed to provide an additional perspective on how the processes of identity formation relate to the varied contexts of language learning. The learner of the second language has to shape her relation to the L2 interactive contexts constantly comparing them with those of L1 and primary culture on one hand, and negotiating the concepts attached to the target language and culture on the other. The sense of the perceived self that accounts for how the learner feels connected to the target linguistic and cultural environment may be the key component of such processes. The formation of ego, a concept borrowed from psychoanalytic theory, as the component of both conscious and unconscious experience of the self, is believed to be formed through the symbolic realms of language. Since the bulk of psychoanalytic and language theories link ego formation to the first language development, it seems worth exploring the role of ego development in second language acquisition. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe the lived experiences of second language learners related to self-identification situated in cross-symbolical relationship between L1 and L2.
language ego, self