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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Masha K. Rudman

Second Advisor

Henry W. Geddes

Third Advisor

Linda L. Griffin

Subject Categories

First and Second Language Acquisition | Higher Education


I have devoted 8 years to prepare for this ethnographic case study. I have analyzed through Bakhtin's lenses of dialogicality and intertextuality, focusing on exploring an ESL college student, Chen Hua's online social identity construction through his use of L1 and L2. I have collected multiple layers of data including formal and informal interviews, observational field notes, interactive emails, narratives and online discussion forum contents ever since the focal participant started his 9 th grade in a high school, throughout his college and military career. I used ethnographic coding, grounded coding, Gee's five theoretical tools and critical discourse analysis to analyze the data. The findings indicate that the ESL college student (an ROTC member) constructed his multiple identities through discursive social practices by making use of available resources, making multithreaded social connections from the online texts/discourses to the real world in which he was living. His unique multiple identities constructed through his use of L1 and L2 in computer-mediated communication practices and through other offline social practices, are reflected and embedded within the current macro sociocultural, political, and historical context of the U. S. A., which helped transform and shape him into what he is and how he participates in "serving and sacrificing" for the community and for this country.