This conversation analytic study explores the nexus of goal orientation and linguistic identity (particularly of L1 English speakers) in ELF interaction. While goal orientation constitutes a hallmark of ELF scholarship, the latter notion has received limited scholarly attention. To address this gap, this study examines a dyadic, institutional interaction between two students in the United States (L1 British English and L1 Arabic) who met for an intercultural conversation assigned by their instructors. In the interest of accomplishing the goal of obtaining intercultural information, the participants did not bring their differences in linguistic identity to the fore of the interaction, while it was also found that the pursuit of an institutional goal can at times manifest itself as orientations to linguistic norms. The examination of these overt orientations to the institutional goal is followed by a study of deviant cases in which the L1 speaking participant appeared to make relevant his superior linguistic identity at first glance. While they could be interpreted as claims of linguistic superiority, a closer look revealed that these instances also reflected the participants' cooperative orientations to the emergent communicative needs so as to jointly accomplish the shared goal. Highlighting the problem of presuming a correlation between interactional behavior and linguistic identity, the study suggests the need for the analyst to withhold his/her preconceptions about interactants' identities. Further research involving diverse groups of interactants, including L1 speakers of English, is needed to contribute to the recent theoretical developments that characterize ELF interaction as situated within diverse linguacultural ecologies and power dynamics.
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