Imagined identity, referring to the ideal self that L2 learners aspire to become in the future (Norton & Toohey, 2011), has been identified as a critical factor that could guide learners to make a learning investment that they believe would in turn reward them with the social capital for which they yearn (Kanno & Norton, 2003). This qualitative case study explores the relationship between imagined identity and investment through the analysis of English learning histories of three high achieving EFL learners in Taiwan. The findings reveal that the participants’ different imagined identities constructed under the influence of particular social and personal factors influenced their choices of investment in different learning stages. Limited imagined identities as English learners confined their learning investment to the school context while more extended imagined identities such as an expert English user and English teacher guided them to make more varied investment in both formal and informal contexts. In addition, it was found that while the participants’ imagined identities could act as a beneficial impetus for action, motivating them to make corresponding investments in their learning contexts, they also play a negative force, triggering the participants’ resistant acts that led to reduced learning investment. In light of the results, some practical pedagogical implications and suggestions for future research are provided to add to the field of learning and teaching foreign languages.
Key Words: SLA, imagined identity, investment
第二語學習者的想像身份，即對自我身份的想像或期望，被視為關 鍵的因素，能驅使學習者在學習過程中做出有助學習的投資，以在 未來獲得他們所渴求的社會資本。此質性個案以三位高學習成就者 為研究對象，透過他們的書面敘述文分析其在不同英文學習階段的 想像身分，並近一步探討這些想像身份如何影響他們的英文學習。 研究結論可見，受試者在不同社會情境下所建構的想像身份影響他 們在不同階段的學習過程中，做出不同的投資。例如，有限的想像 身份如「英文學習者」使他們僅專注於加強制式學習環境所強調的 英文能力；而擁有較多元的想像身份如「英文使用者」與「英文老 師」則使他們能透過較多元學習方式，加強不同的英文能力。研究 也發現，想像身份雖有助受試者學習，但當想像身分與現實有所落 差時，卻也造成負面影響，降低他們的學習成效。文末將對外語老 師可如何透過想像身分幫助學生學習提出建議。