Back and Forth between Languages

An Early-career Bilingual Academic's Writing Odyssey


  • Pamela Olmos-López Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla


academic writing, bilingual writer, early career academic


Many academics can produce successful texts in both English and another language, and move back and forth between languages. In this paper, I present an auto-ethnography regarding my experience of writing in L2 and the impact of going back to write academically in my L1. The paper is a reflection on the main constraints I had on expressing my authorial identity and position as an academic. I will focus on moving back to write in my first language and the personal-professional impact this is causing me in producing academic texts in the context of my home country. The reflection is documented with entries from my academic writing diaries, introspection techniques, text analysis of some extracts of my writing and sections from an interview with a colleague. As a researcher in L2 academic writing and identity, I am aware of the processes involved in writing in an L2 and in the shaping of the writer’s authorial identity; however, the process of reflecting upon myself is a challenge. The paper closes with a reflection on the utility of reporting an auto-ethnographic study in a reflection paper.


Author Biography

Pamela Olmos-López, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

Olmos-López is a lecturer at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Her doctoral research focuses on the analysis of authorial identity in academic discourse, particularly in dissertations written in English as a Second Language. She has published work on doctoral co-supervision, and on writer’s identity. Her research interests include supervision, thesis writing, academic discourse, L2 writing, academic literacies, discourse analysis, bilingualism, and multilingualism.