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ERIC Number: ED526429
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr-14
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
Blessed Complexities, Cursed Confusions: Identity Conflicts of Multilingual Persons
O'Herin, Julie
California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
People have enough trouble defining themselves and determining what they want in life when they operate within a single language and culture, but the job gets trickier when they live in a world of multiple lexicons, grammars, histories, cultures, audiences and social systems, where identity and perceptions vary by language context. This paper considers situations of multilingual individuals dealing with their own senses of identity, their perspectives on the languages they have learned, and their choices of language use. The author notes how their personalities reflect their various language environments, transforming as those environments change. The notions of personal voice, values and worldview as influenced by language are briefly pondered. The costs as well as the benefits of multilingualism are recognized, and the author acknowledges that as multilingualism gains prevalence, individuals would be wise to seek to understand this phenomenon, as it will only increase within their linguistically complex world today. To transcend "the intellectual, linguistic, and pedagogical borders that are represented daily in classrooms" (Guleff, 2007 CATESOL Program, p. 2), participants at this presentation (most of whom were multilingual) considered questions such as Who am I?, Who is like me?, Who understands me? and How can I explain? as applied to teachers, students and families as they function and relate at school, work and home within multicultural TESOL communities. (Contains 1 footnote.)
California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. P.O. Box 9200-338, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Tel: 559-366-4936; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL)