A Passion for English: desire and the language market

Ingrid Piller, Kimie Takahashi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    158 Citations (Scopus)


    In this chapter we explore the discursive construction of the desire to learn another language, specifically Japanese women's desire to learn English. We aim to make a sociolinguistic contribution to the literature on motivation and language learning, which all too often continues to consider 'motivation' as a trait learners have (or do not have). However, motivation, or the 'desire to learn', as we see it, is a complex multifaceted construction that is both internal and external to language learners, and is not linked to success in a straighforward fashion - as we will show in this chapter, the link may even be negative. In our ethnographic study of five highly motivated Japanese learners of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) in Sydney, Australia, we try to provide a detailed description of (1) what it means to 'desire English', (2) how that desire for English is situated within wider discourses about Japanese women on the one hand, and English on the other, and (3) how that desire for English was played out in the lives of the participants - particularly their emotional lives and their love lives - during their overseas experience in Sydney.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBilingual minds
    Subtitle of host publicationemotional experience, expression, and representation
    EditorsAneta Pavlenko
    Place of PublicationClevedon, UK
    PublisherMultilingual Matters
    ISBN (Print)1853598720
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Publication series

    NameBilingual education and bilingualism
    PublisherMultilingual Matters


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