The Linguistic Construction of Identity by Bilinguals Who Stutter
Keywords:systemic functional linguistics, stuttering, bilingualism, qualitative methods
This study’s aim was to investigate the self-perceptions of bilingual people
who stutter as uncovered by their word choices during social interaction.
Specifically, the perceptions they have about themselves relative to their stuttering are examined using qualitative methods. Three bilingual males who stutter were recruited from stuttering support groups. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit participants’ perspectives on their stuttering experiences. Tools derived from Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) theory were used to analyse interview transcripts revealing how participants use linguistic resources to appraise, organise and convey their identities relative to their stuttering. SFL-based analyses revealed individual topics in each participant’s talk including: being prideful about stuttering out of necessity, shifting identity based on views about stuttering, and adopting various identities depending on social context. Analysis of word selections and clause structures revealed that all three participants project a positive identity relative to their stuttering, though they still struggle with negative feelings.
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