Speak English! social acceleration and language learning in the workplace

Loy Lising*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Skilled migration to Australia depends on a good command of English. Where skilled migrants lack English–like the participants in this study–yet fulfil the vocational-skill employment requirement, they are granted temporary visas and provisionally employed but expected to improve their English on the job. They are assumed by mainstream society to practise with English-speaking colleagues; however, their conveyor-belt-like tasks make it impossible for them to engage in talk at work. While fulfilling their work contract, they need to improve their English proficiency to meet permanent residency requirements. Drawing on data from an ethnographic study with Filipino skilled migrants, this paper uses ‘social acceleration’ (Rosa [2013]. Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity. Columbia University Press.) as a lens to examine the processes this group experiences in their employment in Australia. These processes are varied and complex, referred to in this paper as macro- and micro-accelerants that contribute to both acceleration of social change and of their pace of life. This paper contributes to a nuanced understanding of the ‘driving forces of acceleration’ Filipino skilled migrants face particularly in the way they navigate their English language learning against the pressures of a monolingual mindset and of ‘social acceleration’. (195).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1196
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number10
Early online date4 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • social acceleration
  • language learning in the workplace
  • skilled migration
  • multilingualism in the workplace


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