Global or Local Identities? How Thai Learners in an English Program Project Themselves through L2 Pronunciation in ELF Encounters

Main Article Content

Pichet Prakaianurat
Preena Kangkun


This study combines qualitative and quantitative methods to explore 15 English program (EP) students’ attitudes toward English varieties and how they negotiate social meanings and construct their identity through stylistic practices in classroom discourse and English as a lingua franca (ELF) interactions. Through a verbal guise test, semi-structured interviews, and auditory impression analysis, the results indicated a strong preference for native-based English varieties, with American English linguistic resources being more prevalent in the speech of EP students than those of British English. The findings revealed that in ELF talks all EP students adopted native-like speech styles, which were perceived as more socially prestigious and communicatively advantageous, to indexically construct a “proficient” English speaker identity and establish a sense of in-group global community membership. However, within EP classroom discourse, certain participants demonstrated style-shifting by the local variants of Thai-accented English to project a “Popular” identity, distancing themselves from the “Bookishness” group within the EP community of practice. The study underscores the importance of native-based norms and socially sensitive pedagogical approaches, enabling students to construct their distinct identities through L2 pronunciation while also recognizing the plurality of English varieties present in their particular linguistic landscape.

Article Details

How to Cite
Prakaianurat, P. ., & Kangkun, P. . (2024). Global or Local Identities? How Thai Learners in an English Program Project Themselves through L2 Pronunciation in ELF Encounters. LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network, 17(1), 333–368. Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Pichet Prakaianurat, Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Kasetsart University

A university lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Kasetsart University. His research interests include language variation, language attitudes and identity, indexicality, and English as a lingua franca (ELF).

Preena Kangkun, Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

An Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. Her research interests include language attitudes, language and identities, pronunciation, and language in use.


Arnett, J. J. (2002). The psychology of globalization. American psychologist, 57(10), 774.

Bucholtz, M. (1999). “Why be normal?”: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language in society, 28(2), 203-223.

Bucholtz, M. (2004). Styles and stereotypes: The linguistic negotiation of identity among Laotian American youth. Pragmatics, 14(2-3), 127-147.

Bucholtz, M., & Hall, K. (2005). Identity and interaction: A sociocultural linguistic approach. Discourse studies, 7(4-5), 585-614.

Buchstaller, I., & Khattab, G. (2013). Population samples. In R. J. Podesva & D. Sharma (Eds.), Research methods in linguistics (pp. 74-95). Cambridge University Press.

Coupland, N. (2007). Style: Language variation and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language. Cambridge University Press.

Cummins, J. (1994). Knowledge, power, and identity in teaching English as a second language. In F. Genesee (Ed.), Educating second language children: The whole child, the whole curriculum, the whole community (pp. 33-58). Cambridge University Press.

Deterding, D., & Kirkpatrick, A. (2006). Emerging south‐east Asian Englishes and intelligibility. World Englishes, 25(3‐4), 391-409.

Eckert, P. (2003). The meaning of style. Proceedings of the 11th annual symposium about language and society – Austin. Texas Linguistic Forum, 47, 41-53

Eckert, P. (2012). Three waves of variation study: The emergence of meaning in the study of sociolinguistic variation. Annual review of Anthropology, 41, 87-100.

Edwards, J. (1985). Language, society, and identity. B. Blackwell.

Edwards, J. G. H. (2016). The politics of language and identity: Attitudes towards Hong Kong English pre and post the Umbrella Movement. Asian Englishes, 18(2), 157-164.

Garrett, P., Coupland, N., & Williams, A. (2003). Investigating language attitudes: Social meanings of dialect, ethnicity and performance. University of Wales Press.

Higgins, C. (2011). The formation of L2 selves in a globalizing world. Identity formation in globalizing contexts: Language learning in the new millennium, 1-18.

Jenkins, J. (2007). English as a lingua franca: Attitude and identity. Oxford University Press.

Jindapitak, N., & Teo, A. (2013). Accent priority in a Thai university context: A common sense revisited. English Language Teaching, 6(9), 193-201.

Joseph, J. (2004). Language and identity: National, ethnic, religious. Springer.

Kangkun, P. (2018). Projecting identities through L2: Pronunciation and attitudes towards varieties of English among Thai learners of English in a public speaking classroom context. Thoughts, (2), 45-70.

Kiesling, S. F. (1998). Men’s identities and sociolinguistic variation: The case of fraternity men. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 2(1), 69-99.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2010). English as a lingua franca in ASEAN: A multilingual model (Vol. 1). Hong Kong University Press.

Kramsch, C. (1999). Global and local identities in the contact zone. In C. Gnutzmann (Ed.), Teaching and learning English as a global language: Native and non-native perspectives (pp. 131-143). Stauffenburg Verlag.

Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An introduction to qualitive research interviewing. Sage.

Ladegaard, H. J. (2000). Language attitudes and sociolinguistic behaviour: Exploring attitude‐behaviour relations in language. Journal of sociolinguistics, 4(2), 214-233.

Ladegaard, H. J., & Sachdev, I. (2006). ‘I like the Americans… But I certainly don't aim for an American accent’: Language attitudes, vitality and foreign language learning in Denmark. Journal of multilingual and multicultural development, 27(2), 91-108.

Le Page, R. B., & Tabouret-Keller, A. (1985). Acts of identity: Creole-based approaches to language and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press.

Norton, B. (2000). Investment, acculturation, and language loss. In S. L. McKay & S. L. C. Wong (Eds.), New immigrants in the United States: Readings for second language educators. Cambridge language teaching library (pp. 443-461). Cambridge University Press.

Pennycook, A. (2006). Global Englishes and transcultural flows. Routledge.

Ploywattanawong, P., & Trakulkasemsuk, W. (2014). Attitudes of Thai graduates toward English as a Lingua Franca of ASEAN. Asian Englishes, 16(2), 141-156.

Podesva, R. J. (2008). Three sources of stylistic meaning. Proceedings of the 15th annual symposium about language and society – Austin. Texas Linguistic Forum, 51, 134-143.

Prakaianurat, P. (2016). Language attitudes and identity construction of Thai speakers of English in the workforce [Master’s thesis, Chulalongkorn University].

Prakaianurat, P., & Kangkun, P. (2018). Language attitudes of Thai working adults toward native and non-native English varieties. Manusya: Journal of Humanities, 21(2), 92-111.

Punthumasen, P. (2007, December). International program for teacher education: An approach to tackling problems of English education in Thailand. In The 11th UNESCO-APEID International Conference Reinventing Higher Education: Toward Participatory and Sustainable Development (pp. 12-14).

Rampton, B. (2016). Styling and identity in a second language. In Preece, S. (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Identity, (pp. 458-475). Routledge.

Rickford, J. R. (1986). The need for new approaches to social class analysis in sociolinguistics. Language and communication, 6(3), 215-221.

Rindal, U. (2010). Constructing identity with L2: Pronunciation and attitudes among Norwegian learners of English 1. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 14(2), 240-261.

Rindal, U. (2019). PhD revisited: Meaning in English: L2 attitudes, choices and pronunciation in Norway. In U. Rindal & L. M. Brevik (Eds.), English Didactics in Norway: –30 years of doctoral research (pp. 335-355). Universitetsforlaget.

Ochs, E. (1992). 14 Indexing gender. Rethinking context: Language as an interactive phenomenon, 11(11), 335.

Seidlhofer, B. (2005). English as a lingua franca. ELT Journal, 59(4), 339-341.

Snodin, N. S., & Young, T. J. (2015). ‘Native-speaker’ varieties of English: Thai perceptions and attitudes. Asian Englishes, 17(3), 248-260.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273–285). Sage.

Sung, C. C. M. (2014). Accent and identity: Exploring the perceptions among bilingual speakers of English as a lingua franca in Hong Kong. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 17(5), 544-557.

Sung, C. C. M. (2016). Does accent matter? Investigating the relationship between accent and identity in English as a lingua franca communication. System, 60, 55-65.

Syndicate, U. C. L. E. (2001). Quick placement test. Oxford University Press.

Ushioda, E. (2013). Motivation and ELT: Global issues and local concerns. In E. Ushioda (Ed.), International perspectives on motivation: Language learning and professional challenges (pp. 1–17). Palgrave Macmillan.

Wells, J. C., & Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English: Volume 1 (Vol. 1). Cambridge University Press.

Zhang, Q. (2005). A Chinese yuppie in Beijing: Phonological variation and the construction of a new professional identity. Language in society, 34(3), 431-46.