Language Identities of Multilingual College English Learners in Indonesia

Emi Nursanti
Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta
Erna Andriyanti
Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta
Keywords: multilingualism; language identity; youth; millennials; local-oriented English


College learners with their youthfulness are in a crucial phase of transition, which is often associated with a search of identity. Since language is a fluid identity marker, an investigation of language use to represent identity is challenging, especially when the speakers are multilingual. This article explores the linguistic identities of English college learners in Indonesia and offers an approach of English instruction in its tertiary education context which can accommodate their language identity representation. Through observation, a survey of 173 students of the English Literature Study Program, and in-depth interview with 13 representatives selected by purposive convenience sampling technique, this study found that other than identities related to their language inheritance, their closeness to English as their major of study and to digital media bring out other forms of identity as English Department students, youth, and millennial generation. However, this variety confirms monocultural rather than multicultural identity since they are deeply rooted in their local culture. Using the lingua franca approach, this work proposes a local-oriented English instruction to facilitate them to promote their local culture to international audiences.

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