The Construction of Mono- and Multilingual Identity Portrayals on Social Media: The Case of Instagram

  1. Mocanu, Vasilica 1
  2. González, Valeria 1
  3. Elorza, Izaskun 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Salamanca

    Universidad de Salamanca

    Salamanca, España


ILCEA: revue de l’Institut des langues et cultures d'Europe, Amérique, Afrique, Asie et Australie

ISSN: 1639-6073 2101-0609

Year of publication: 2023

Type: Article

DOI: 10.4000/ILCEA.17254 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: ILCEA: revue de l’Institut des langues et cultures d'Europe, Amérique, Afrique, Asie et Australie


This article examines how monolingual and multilingual portrayals are constructed and displayed by users of the social media platform Instagram. It is based on a corpus of 100 posts, which were labelled with the hashtags #monolingualism or #monolingual. The data were processed with the corpus-analysis software AntConc, quantified, and thematically analyzed.The results indicate that the posts labelled with the selected hashtags contained information related not only to monolingualism but also to multilingualism. Corpus analysis shows that substantially different value is assigned to monolingual and multilingual identities: while multilingualism is related, mostly, to positive themes, such as the opportunities of language learning, monolingualism is characterized by a majority of posts with a negative value.The results of the thematic analysis shed light on the most recurrent themes that appeared in the posts related to monolingualism and multilingualism, which fall into four main categories: 1) embodiment of mono- and multilingualism; 2) social and sociolinguistic issues related to mono- and multilingualism; 3) feelings towards mono- and multilingualism; and 4) research-related topics. However, different sub-themes appear within each of these categories depending on the variables monolingualism or multilingualism, enabling us to understand how Instagram users construct identity portrayals based on monolingualism and multilingualism.