Novice or expert? Heritage speaker's orientation to the novice-expert paradigm

Marta Tecedor, Leslie Del Carpio, Valeria Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Drawing on the theoretical tenets of the communities of practice (CofP) framework (Lave and Wenger 1991) and using an emic microanalytic perspective to analyze the data, this study explores how bilingual heritage speakers (HS) make relevant their novice-expert identities through references to their expertise and during repair activity. Data from four paired videoconferencing conversations between two focal bilingual Spanish HSs and either a monolingual Spanish native speaker (NS) or a Spanish second language (L2) learner was used to examine how the bilingual HSs negotiated their participation and membership within the speaking community of their minority language. Data analysis revealed fluctuations in the HSs' orientations to their novice and expert identities, discourse-internal as well as external, which can be interpreted as HSs’ fluidity to move between categories or as evidence of their struggle to self-claim their identities in their minority language. Overall, the data shows that the construction of a social identity is a dynamic, locally-contingent, and situationally-bounded process that emerges during talk-in-interaction. Additionally, the results also provide insights into the dialectic relationship between locally co-constructed actions and macro-level sociolinguistic categories such as NS and NNS commonly used in second language acquisition (SLA) research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Bilingual heritage speakers
  • Expertise
  • Novice/expert
  • Repair
  • Spanish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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