Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Abstract

This autobiographical narrative investigation used a qualitative method to gain an in-depth understanding of how L2 American academics perceive their English learning as lifelong processes and the subjective experiences of being multilinguals. Participated in this qualitative study were four active academics at a university level whose average English learning and use history is a long duration of 39.5 years. Their linguistic autobiographies were collected through one-shot interviews. Underpinning the entire process of data analysis was a dual focus on individual language learners and their surrounding social practices. The major findings include a) the initiation and maintenance of autonomous investment, b) the struggle for legitimate membership, and c) personal meaning construction inherent in the lifelong process of language learning - all suggest an urgent need to humanize second and foreign language education and re-conceptualize English education as a form of symbolic empowerment rather than linguistic imperialism.

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