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Language learning in the public eye: an analysis of newspapers and official documents in England

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This article considers the issue of low levels of motivation for foreign language learning in England by exploring how language learning is conceptualised by different key voices in that country through the examination of written data: policy documents and reports on the UK's language needs, curriculum documents and press articles. The extent to which this conceptualisation has changed over time is explored, through the consideration of documents from two time points, before and after a change in government in the UK. The study uses corpus analysis methods in this exploration. The picture that emerges is a complex one regarding how the ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ surrounding language learning in that context are presented in public discourse. This, we conclude, has implications for the likely success of measures adopted to increase language learning uptake in that context.

Keywords: attitudes; discourse analysis; language learning; media discourse; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Education, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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