In the first part of this study, we briefly present different approaches used to define the concept of second language learners’ identity. Then we introduce Butler’s theory of performativity (1988) and we attempt to apply its main concepts as tools for describing L2 learners’ identity. In the second part of the study, we try to answer the following question: What are typical performative acts of a good and a poor language learner in the language learning classroom? Our research suggests that performing a good language learner identity refers to the learner’s frequent and repetitive participation in utterances whose content is related to the language classroom, regardless of the chosen communicative resources. As for performing a poor language learner identity, it appeared that it refers to the learner’s repetitive and frequent participation in utterances whose content is not related to the language classroom, regardless of the chosen communicative resources.
This case study examines the perspective of plurilingual primary school students on three aspects of their language use: code switching, positive language transfer and translation. In other words, the research question attempted to be answered in this paper is whether plurilingual primary school students use their communicative repertoires purposefully and strategically for their communication, acquisition, and learning of the languages. The research was conducted in a class of eighteen third-graders who attended an international primary school in Zagreb, with the average age of 9. Two questionnaires and a semi-structured interview were used to collect data about the students’ language background, their language use, and their motives for engaging in code-switching, positive language transfer, and translation. In this research, the majority of the participants reported code-switching, the use of positive language transfer and translation. The findings also suggest the students are aware of the benefits that accompany plurilingualism, and that most of the participants possess significant metalinguistic awareness regardless of their young age. To sum up, this case study brings a valuable insight into the plurilingual world of primary school children and the development of their metalinguistic awareness.