The English Language and Its Impact on Identities of Multilingual Malaysian Undergraduates

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The English Language And Its Impact On Identities Of Multilingual Malaysian Undergraduates

By

Lee, Su Kim, Lee, King Siong, Wong, Fook Fei and Azizah Ya’acob

Lee Su Kim is an associate Professor at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, UKM. Lee King Siong, a senior lecturer with the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Wong Fook Fei is a senior lecturer at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Azizah Yaacob is a lecturer at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Article Summary

In this paper, the author explored an investigation in selected private and public universities to find out the impact of english on the identities of young Malaysian undergraduates in selected private and public universities in Malaysia. The author wanted to explore on a larger scale the role of English in the identity construction of a younger Malaysian cohort from both public and private universities.

The researcher chose from both public and private universities consists of 20 Malaysian undergraduates, in their early 20's till mid 20's . They were from different races(Malay Chinese, Indian s and Singhalese), different family backgrounds, different learning experiences and different everyday experiences when using english. Out of the 20 undergraduates, seven were Malays, eight were Chinese, four were Indians and one was Singhalese. There were four males and sixteen females. Twelve undergraduates were from public universities and eight were from the private universities. are from different families, races, backgrounds, and experiences were involved in the study.

Based on the analysis of the data, it suggests that for a significant number of the respondents, English can quite easily be considered the dominant language in all domains.In most cases, English has empowered its users as it has opened up their world and in some cases has improved their self-esteem, improved their social status, and made them appear more knowledgeable.

Critical reflection

The organization of the article was easy to understand as it follows step by step. For instance. At the beginning of the paper, the author gave us a brief and simple abstract, it helped us to get the gist of the study.

This article falls under the linguistic category of language and identity. Basically, this article discusses about the impact of English on the identities of young Malaysian undergraduates in selected private and public universities in Malaysia. The author focuses on how different multilingual and the impact of english language in constructing their identity and everyday negotiation.

The article firstly explained the concept of identity especially in a multilingual society. The author stated that identity construction is an on-going process and is influenced by many factors. In Malaysia context, where its is a multilingual country, involves the formation of bicultural identities, where the self defined by local meanings and more traditional practices is maintained alongside a self defined by global culture (Arnett, 2002). As such, a learner must not dispute its ‘imposed identity but to preserve its ethnic identity. Next, the author introduces the concept of othering The concept of “othering” refers to the practice of comparing ourselves to others and at the same time distancing ourselves from them (Palfreyman, 2005)

The article is written based on a study done by one of the authors, related to the impact of English on the identities of young Malaysians. This study is conducted based on the three research objectives which are mainly to identify the impact of English language on the identities of young Malaysians as bilingual and multilingual speakers, to seek the empowerment of english language in globalized world and to address any threats of english language to their...
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