Second Language Socialization in Higher Education: An Exploratory Case Study


  • UMIT BOZ University of Calgary
  • LENA BARRANTES University of Calgary
  • M. GREGORY TWEEDIE University of Calgary



Second language socialization, speech acts, English for Academic Purposes


Utilizing second language (L2) socialization as a theoretical framework, this study explores international students' performance of speech acts in academic and social settings, and individual and contextual factors underlying their L2 socialization experiences. Data were gathered through a 20-item online discourse completion test (DCT) and semi-structured interviews. Situational prompts in the DCT involved instances such as requesting extra time for assignment completion and negotiating roles in group work. While mostly grammatically correct, the DCT responses were marked by absence of typical speech acts, such as expressions of regret, excuses, and apologies. Interview data revealed a relatively low level of engagement with the target speech community. Findings suggest that present models of language support, which focus almost exclusively on development of academic language and literacy, largely overlook the importance of direct engagement with the target speech community. We recommend such engagement be delivered deliberately as part of the language support curriculum.