Language on the Move 2016

By December 21, 2016News

Language on the Move is taking a break.

Before we go, we’d like to wish all our readers peaceful holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!

We will be back in the New Year for another round of diverse, stimulating and engaging essays, events and interactions in the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, language learning and intercultural communication in the contexts of globalization and migration.

In particular, watch out for the symposium devoted to Bridging Language Barriers, which we will be hosting in March. Make sure to keep in touch by subscribing to our newsletter in the footer line or .

In the meantime, enjoy the review of Language on the Move 2016.


While this review looks back to 2016, two of our posts in December already looked ahead to 2017, when we will host a symposium devoted to Bridging Language Barriers at Macquarie University in March; and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland will host the 16th International Conference on Minority Languages devoted to Revaluing Minority Languages.

Love on the Move: How Tinder is changing the way we date Livia Gerber explains why dating apps create more desires than they can possibly fulfill.


In November members of the Language on the Move team travelled to New Zealand to attend the annual conference of the New Zealand Linguistics Society in Wellington. The conference was devoted to Doing and Applying Linguistics in a Globalised World and took place a week after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit the South Island and nearby Wellington. So, the Macquarie delegation had to learn the “Drop. Cover. Hold” drill right at the beginning of the conference. Luckily, it wasn’t needed.

In addition to Ingrid Piller, who was a keynote speaker, the following team members presented their research:

  • Rahel Cramer, Mediating corporate and state practices: a case study of the BP oil spill and VW emissions scandal
  • Jia Li, Agentive practices in learning Chinese: A critical sociolinguistic ethnography of Burmese students’ educational experiences in China
  • Agnes Bodis, Migration, language testing and perceptions of linguistic authenticity in Australia
  • Gegentuul Baioud, A semiotic analysis of wedding invitations in Inner Mongolia
  • Alexandra Grey, Regulating linguistic signage in China: Linguistic landscape subjectivity

Another November highlight was the addition of Jinhyun Cho’s thesis Interpreting English language ideologies in Korea: dreams vs. realities to our PhD Hall of Fame.

We were also fortunate to win another award: our lively social media presence – we now have over 14,400 Twitter followers –earned us a spot in the Top 100 Language Learning Blog for Polyglots, Linguists and Learners awarded by meta-blog Feedspot, where Language on the Move was identified as amongst the 100 most frequently searched and accessed language learning blogs on the web. We are happy that these metrics back up our standing in the international sociolinguistics community, where Language on the Move was earlier in the year identified as one of three global networks “that have been remarkably productive for the dissemination of new, critical sociolinguistic ideas and analysis, and for building capacity in European and global sociolinguistics” (Coupland, N. 2016, Sociolinguistics: Theoretical Debates, p. 20).

Building bridges in a divided world Reviewing findings from the “Australians Today” 2016 Report by the Scanlon Foundation, Ingrid Piller examines experiences of discrimination faced by different groups of Australian residents and argues for the importance of interpersonal relationships in building a more inclusive society.

Stereotyped ethnic names as a barrier to workplace entry Drawing on recent German and Swedish research, Ingrid Piller provides an overview of the roles of negative stereotyping in the job search.


In October we celebrated the 7th anniversary of Language on the Move with a book draw. The winners have now all received their copies and we’ll share who they are and how they like their prize, a copy of Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice, in January.

What makes foreigners weird? A quick guide to orientalism Colonial ways of seeing the non-Western Other persist in a contemporary supermarket promotion campaign, as Ingrid Piller shows.

Do bilinguals express different emotions in different languages? On the basis of code-switching data collected from a group of Arabic-English late bilinguals in the UK, Hanan Ben Nafa explains that bilinguals do different things with their different languages and may express quite different emotions in one language or the other.

How States Promote Global English: Shifting Priorities in Education Peter Ives introduces a research project that aims to create a global database of national English language teaching policies.

Piller, I. (Ed.) (2016) Language and Migration. London: Routledge.


A September highlight was Ingrid Piller’s visit to Cambridge to attend the annual conference of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL). A conference report is available at Why a multilingual social imagination matters.

The four-volume edited collection Language and Migration edited by Ingrid Piller was published in the Routledge Critical Concepts in Linguistics series. The four volumes are structured as follows:

  • Languages in contact
  • Identities and ideologies
  • Linguistic diversity and social justice
  • Education in linguistically diverse societies

If you’d like to read up on a state-of-the-art review of research related to language and migration but find four volumes a bit too daunting, just read the open-access editorial introduction, which can be accessed here.

Urban sociolinguistics in Dubai Dubai makes an ideal case study for an examination of the key challenges of contemporary urban sociolinguistics, as Ingrid Piller argues.

Can ESL teachers play a role in helping maintain the home language? ESL teachers have an important role to play as grassroots activists when it comes to contesting the monolingual mindset, Agnes Bodis tells her TESOL students.


Mi-Cha Flubacher and Shirley Yeung introduced the special issue about Discourses of Integration: Language, Skills, and the Politics of Difference they guest-edited for Multilingua; and Britta Schneider shared news of a Berlin conference devoted to How to Study Language and Social Relations in Times of Global Mobility

How language can entrench disadvantage provides a link to an author interview with Ingrid Piller about Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice. If you have missed this podcast on the New Books Network, why not download it for the holidays?


Serendipity, Cyberspace, and the Tactility of Documents Carol Sicherman takes us on a journey into the lost multilingual and multicultural world of early 20th century Galicia signposted by postcards written by members of an extended Jewish family.

Would you mind if your child wanted to become an interpreter? Jinhyun Cho examines the differential status of translators and interpreters in Korean and Australian society.

Multilingua Here you can learn more about the partnership between Language on the Move and the international sociolinguistics journal Multilingua published by deGruyter Mouton.


In June Language on the Move was voted #7 in a global language-related blogging competition organized by language learning and terminology provider In addition to coming in #7 overall, we were the only academic blog to make it into the Top 20. Competing was a lot of fun and we submitted our multilingual pitch in 17 languages and seven different scripts. If you would like to find out how to say/write “Vote for us” in Swiss German, Hudum Mongolian, Ga, Twi and a range of other languages, you can still view our pitch here. Many thanks to all our readers who voted for us! We appreciate your support!

Translation challenges of Kriol signage in the Top End Greg Dickson explores bilingual signage in the Northern Territory.

Have we just seen the beginning of the end of English? Ingrid Piller examines the linguistic consequences of Brexit and argues that, while English will continue to thrive, Brexit constitutes another nail in the coffin for native speaker supremacy.

How to solve Australia’s language learning crisis Australia’s dismal record when it comes to language learning constitutes a perennial problem, and Ingrid Piller makes the case for compulsory language education in schools.

Why does English spread in global academia? Jinhyun Cho draws attention to the fact that few academics who are critical of the global spread of English walk the walk when it comes to their own publication practices. As a counterexample she showcases a co-authored article about English as medium of instruction published in Korean.


May was busy with preparations for the 2016 LEF E-Seminar: between June 01 and June 21, Language on the Move teamed up with the Linguistic Ethnography Forum to deliver the 2016 LEF E-Seminar.

The Linguistic Ethnography Forum (LEF) is a Special Interest Group of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and brings together researchers conducting linguistic ethnographic research in the UK and elsewhere. It seeks to explore a range of past and current work, to identify key issues, and to engage in methodologically and theoretically well-tuned debate. LEF hosts a free annual e-seminar open to all list members.

This year’s e-seminar was devoted to Ingrid Piller’s new book Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics. A/Prof Huamei Han from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, served as discussant and our very own Livia Gerber as moderator. The e-seminar was attended by ca. 1,100 participants from around the globe and provided a vibrant forum for the discussion of the ways in which multilingualism is linked to inequality in education, the workplace and community participation in a wide range of global contexts.

Do monolingual teachers produce a Golem effect in multilingual students? Ingrid Piller examines how the monolingual mindset underlying teacher expectations may disadvantage multilingual students in


Portrait of a linguistic shirker Ingrid Piller introduces the Bavarian author Oskar Maria Graf, who lived in exile in New York for 30 years and explicitly refused to learn English.

Cleaning work: a stepping-stone or a dead-end job for migrants? Majiu Strömmer busts the myth that the workplace is a good place for migrants to engage in language learning.

The language that cannot speak its name Ingrid Piller examines the consequences of monolingual language ideologies for the educational success of migrant children.

Ingrid Piller, Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice, Oxford University Press, March 2016


Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice, Ingrid Piller’s long-awaited new book, was published in March by Oxford University Press. The promo code for the Language on the Move discount continues to be available here. A related blog post, The real problem with linguistic shirkers, provides a quick overview of the basics of adult language learning and exposes the failure of destination states to adequately provide for the language learning needs of adult migrant learners.

Crucial communication: language management in Australian asylum interviews Laura Smith-Khan reports on her research with Afghans who have been successful in obtaining a protection visa in Australia.

Niru Perera introduced her research related to Temples helping heritage language maintenance in Australia and Ingrid Piller debunked the myth of the ‘Herderian triad’ in Herder: an explainer for linguists.


Our resources section includes our PhD Hall of Fame, where we offer open access to research theses produced by team members. In February we uploaded two new theses, namely Grace Chu-Lin Chang’s Language learning challenges of overseas students and Livia Gerber’s Giving children the gift of bilingualism. Additionally, we featured research reports about resources related to Child language brokering by Alexandra Grey; to cultural concepts (Alles in Ordnung? Reflections on German order) by Rahel Cramer; and a workshop report by Donna Butorac about Australian Perspectives on “Language and Migration.”


We kicked off the year with reflections on ways of seeing by Ingrid Piller related to her open-access article about “Monolingual ways of seeing multilingualism” published in the Journal of Multicultural Discourses at around the same time.


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