The Omnipresent Other: National Identity in English Language LearningThe Omnipresent Other: National Identity in English Language Learning
Paper presented at the Seventh Centre for Language Studies International Conference (CLaSIC), National University of Singapore, Singapore. presented academic conference Given that fundamental concepts such as language can either “diminish a sense of national identity or reinforce it” (Edensor, 2002: 29), this presentation contends that one of the most influential affective variables impacting upon English language education within the sociocultural context of Japan is attachment to an imagined Japanese nation (singular), or to be more precise, the respective strength of attitudinal attachment students hold toward various dimensions of nation identity. Within current language-learning literature, the direct impact of nation identity has been largely overlooked. Motivated by the current void within mainstream language-learning literature, this presentation shares quantitative data collected from 1123 Japanese university students which sought to answer a single cardinal research question: What impact does the strength of attitudinal attachment students hold toward various dimensions of nation identity have upon language-learner motivation within a university context that provides extensive intergroup contact opportunities with a population of non-Japanese “native speaker” English teachers? A broad analysis and discussion of the results will be offered and participants will be invited to consider the role of nation identity in the learning of foreign languages.