Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Maria L. Thomas-Ružić

Second Advisor

Barbara Fox

Third Advisor

Andrew Cowell


It is commonly accepted that we shape our identity through our interactions with others; identity is a "discursive construct" that is "interactionally emergent" (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005: 587). When we envision identity construction thus - fluid and dynamic, shaped through interaction and discourse - language becomes our primary vehicle of expression that is heavily dependent on not only our own linguistic ability, but also the language and perceptions of our interlocutors. L2 speakers are thus faced with a problem: how does one construct an identity in a language that is still being learned? Without a deep knowledge of linguistic structure and the subtleties of conversational, social, and cultural cues, how can L2 speakers ensure that they construct acceptable identities through their language use and interaction with others? Drawing on various sociolinguistic approaches and Conversation Analysis, this paper examines L2 identity construction within the context of one-on-one English lessons.