Sunday, December 2, 2012

Today I read this article by Pavlenko.

“In the world of the tradition, I was unimagined”: Negotiation of identities in cross-cultural autobiographies

Abstract: The present paper focuses on an unusual linguistic minority — contemporary American writers for whom English is a second language. The study examines ways in which these writers position and reposition themselves with regard to their multiple languages and identities in autobiographic narratives. The analysis of the narratives demonstrates that five main aspects of identity may be subject to renegotiation in the process of second language socialization: linguistic, racial and ethnic, cultural, gender, and social identities. It is argued that written—and, in particular, published—texts represent ideal discursive spaces for negotiation of identities, spaces where accents may be erased and the writers' voices imbued with authority. Furthermore, it is argued that the importance of cross-cultural autobiographies by bilingual writers is not simply in ways in which this writing allows the authors to reinvent themselves but rather in ways in which it allows second language(L2) users to assume legitimate ownership of their L2 and to provide the readers with new meanings, perspectives, and images of “being American—and bilingual” in the postmodern world.

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