Adjustment and Autonomy in Novice Second Language Writing: Reconceptualizing Voice in Language Learning

  • Ingri Dommersnes JølboEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 39)


By studying novice second-language writing in a Norwegian classroom, this chapter highlights how language learning, particularly writing, is a process whereby a learner adjusts to new language norms and literacy practices and at the same time expresses autonomy. Second language writing is a space for identity constructions and for expressing ideas and feelings (autonomy), but these expressions must be recognized and understood in a specific cultural and social context (adjustment). Negotiation – between autonomy and adjustment – is the basis for the suggested reconceptualizing of the notion of voice discussed in this chapter. Developing voice in a new language has been associated with self-presentation and identity negotiations in text (Canagarajah 2004, pp. 266–289; Ivanič and Camps 2001), as part of authoring the self (Vitanova 2010), and as skills for expressing appropriateness and authoritativeness (Isaac 2012). In this chapter, voice is conceived as an individual positioning on a continuum between adjustment and autonomy and studied in texts written by two novice second-language writers. The writers use different strategies to develop their voice in a new language. This development is a crucial part of their language learning and involves taking part in new literacy practices.


Second language writing Voice Somalian refugees Autonomy Adjustment Identity Literacy practices 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and EducationUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway

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