Nothing but a Fairy Tale: A Qualitative Study of Marriage Migration, Second Language Learning, and the Ideal Self

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Abstract

This article explores how the global trends of marriage migration and tightening of immigration policies in the West interconnect with second language learning motivation. Specifically, this article considers how social positions, governmental regulations, and everyday contexts come together to complicate the expectations of language learning that underlie much public discussion on “integration.” Applying narrative analysis to excerpts from interviews and conversations, I investigate the case of Mulenga, a younger Zambian woman who moved to Denmark to marry an older Danish man. Framed by the L2 motivational self system, the analysis reveals a self-discrepancy between her ideal self (hopes of a better life) and her actual self (lived reality in Denmark) and highlights how motivation and images of self traverse, combine, and reconfigure different cross-temporal experiences. The findings stress the importance for language educators to pay more attention to personal narratives and experiences outside the classroom when attempting to understand learner motivation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Language, Identity, and Education
Volume16
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
ISSN1534-8458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • social work and social conditions
  • immigration policy
  • integration
  • marriage migration
  • motivation
  • second language learning
  • self

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