The impact of multilingualism & language learning experiences on an immigrant woman's identity: a case study
Following the interpretive qualitative approach, the present study strives to give voice to an immigrant woman by telling her story about the development of her identity as a multilingual learner of English. Using multiple methods of data collection (in-depth interviews, informal observations, documents, artifact, member checks, and peer debriefings), this research attempts to shed light on how an immigrant woman makes sense out of her social world through the languages she uses, their function in her life, the meanings she assigns to each and the role of learning languages on her multilingual identity. Some SLA investigators have argued that because mainstream SLA theorists have paid little attention to and not adequately addressed such language learning experiences as inequitable power relations between language learners and native speakers, there are major gaps in theory in reference to the relationship between the individual language learner and his/her social surroundings. For the participant in this study, these language learning experiences have been leading factors in the development of her multilingual identity and have been an affective factor for her acquisition of English, leading to subtractive bilingualism. The findings from this study call for education programs which foster and lay a foundation for additive bilingualism.