Macquarie University
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L2 motivational self, social identity, and swearing - perspectives from Korean EFL speakers

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posted on 2022-03-28, 23:09 authored by Joshua Simon Wedlock
For more than a decade the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005) has been the framework of choice for many researchers examining motivation in EFL contexts. Although this framework has been used to study motivation in a range of different settings, it appears little has been published on the relationship between L2 social identity (real or imagined future social identities) and the three components which constitute the L2 Motivational Self System.Exploring the topic of swearing and taboo language as a means of expressing elements of an individual's various L2 social identities, this study uses a semi-structured interview approach to elicit data from ten Korean users of English in order to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between social identity, taboo language, and motivation.Results reveal that the relationship between these elements is dynamic; with factors such as current and previous learning contexts, current domains of use, and future 'imagined' domains of use all having a bearing on not only one's ability to employ swearing and taboo language for identity projection, but also on the level of importance an individual places on being able to use swearing and taboo language to construct and display L2 social identities. Results also revealed that a lack of knowledge related to both linguistic and pragmatic functions of English swearing and taboo language prevented some participants from using this linguistic style to express elements of their L2 social identities. This linguistic, pragmatic, and sociocultural knowledge deficit was predominantly due to the Korean EFL learning context.This research highlights the importance of the learning context, domains and opportunities for use, and the role of the ideal L2 self for those wishing to construct and display various social identities via swearing and taboo language.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Findings -- 5. Discussion and conclusion


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 81-95

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jill Murray


Copyright Joshua Simon Wedlock 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (102 pages)

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