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Identity and Language Learning (2nd Edition) Extending the Conversation Author: Bonny Norton

Paperback - 232 pages
04 Oct 2013
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156 (R8vo)


Identity and Language Learning draws on a longitudinal case study of immigrant women in Canada to develop new ideas about identity, investment, and imagined communities in the field of language learning and teaching. Bonny Norton demonstrates that a poststructuralist conception of identity as multiple, a site of struggle, and subject to change across time and place is highly productive for understanding language learning. Her sociological construct of investment is an important complement to psychological theories of motivation. The implications for language teaching and teacher education are profound. Now including a new, comprehensive Introduction as well as an Afterword by Claire Kramsch, this second edition addresses the following central questions: - Under what conditions do language learners speak, listen, read and write? - How are relations of power implicated in the negotiation of identity? - How can teachers address the investments and imagined identities of learners? The book integrates research, theory, and classroom practice, and is essential reading for students, teachers and researchers in the fields of language learning and teaching, TESOL, applied linguistics and literacy.


The publication of Bonny Norton's Identity and Language Learning in 2000 was a landmark moment in the field of additional/second language learning. The countless discussions in journal articles, research reports and PhD theses in the past decade testify to the power of her multi-faceted and generative ideas. I have no doubt that this revised edition will be on the 'must read' list of anyone concerned with additional/second language learning and language education more generally.
Constant Leung, King's College, University of London, UK

Uniting impeccable scholarship and an enduring passion for social justice, Bonny Norton's 2000 book Identity and Language Learning is republished here with a magisterial new Introduction by the author and an inspirational Afterword by Claire Kramsch. The book demonstrates anew the intrinsic power of Norton's constructs of investment, imagined identities and imagined communities, and the paradigm-shifting impact of her theory of identity on an ever-expanding set of questions, contexts, and interdisciplinary approaches to research and teaching in second language education and applied linguistics.
Nancy Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Since the publication of the first, pathbreaking edition of this now-classic text, identity has become a central term through which applied linguists have been able to explore the changing, complex and contradictory struggles we encounter as we learn languages. This book has become one of the most significant of the last decade, and will continue to provoke thought, research and discussion for another decade. A key text for any applied linguist.
Alastair Pennycook, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

The book is invaluable for both novice and experienced SLA researchers and scholars interested in inquiring about language learning and identity. Norton has successfully combined international literature on SLA, identity, and social justice with pedagogical suggestions to create a volume that effectively takes a step forward in bridging the gap between research and pedagogy on language learning and learner identity in ESL environments. Even though these chapters center on language learning in ESL context, practitioners working with other languages could benefit from the findings and pedagogical implications.
Andrea Lypka, University of South Florida, USA on the LINGUIST List 25.3857

Author Biography:

Bonny Norton is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia, Canada. She is committed to social change through the power of ideas and the integration of theory, research, and practice. In 2010 she was the inaugural recipient of the “Senior Researcher Award” by the Second Language Research group of AERA (American Educational Research Association) and in 2012 was inducted as an AERA Fellow. Her website can be found at http://www.educ.ubc.ca/faculty/norton

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

Table of Contents

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