Language learning motivation and projected desire: an interview study with parents of young language learners

Luk Van Mensel, Julie Deconinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent studies on language learning motivation have foregrounded notions of identity formation and self-fulfilment. This paper takes two different theoretical frameworks as points of departure (Dörnyei’s ‘L2 Motivational Self System’ and Kramsch’s ‘desire in language’), but it looks at the motivation/desire of the parents of young language learners, rather than at the learners themselves. Based on in-depth interviews about language and identity with nine parents of various linguistic and social backgrounds in Brussels (Belgium), the data reveal that these parents frequently had vivid mental images of what their multilingual children could achieve in the future (in contrast to their own ‘monolingual’ achievements). Additionally, they imagined their children having future access to a range of identity options thanks to this multilingual education. In this way, we show that ‘desire in language’ is not limited to the construction of an inwardly generated identity; it can also be projected outwardly onto other individuals, in this case by parents onto their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-550
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education
Volume22
Issue number5
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

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