Student mobility and identity-related language learning

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This paper reviews some recent studies problematizing various aspects of identity in relation to mobile students’ encounters with the social interactive and pragmatic dimensions of language. The paper will examine several salient demographic categories represented in the literature: nationality, ‘foreigner’ status, gender, age, and sexuality. These studies clearly demonstrate that student sojourners abroad may encounter challenges not only to their language skills, but also to their identities. Furthermore, these challenges can influence both the overall quality of study or residence abroad as an environment for language learning and the particular aspects of language that students choose to appropriate or reject. In light of these findings, it would appear that simply enjoining language learners to become more engaged or less judgmental may not be sufficient. Rather, what is in order is a renewed emphasis on awareness of language and culture as well as approaches helping students to understand how linguistic choices both reflect and create interpersonal, social, and cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalIntercultural Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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