The Language-on-the-Move team is proud to announce the launch of a new sociolinguistic research project entitled “Language, Mobility and Tourism: Thailand on the Move towards ASEAN 2015”. Funded by Assumption University of Thailand and led by Kimie Takahashi, the project explores the role of language learning and multilingualism in tourism-related workplaces in Bangkok. It is modeled on the language and tourism projects conducted by Ingrid Piller in Switzerland (with Alexandre Duchêne) and Australia (with Kimie Takahashi). The interactive project site is hosted by Language on the Move.
Starting in March 2013, the research team will interview and conduct fieldwork with up to 30 workers in a range of tourism-related industries (e.g., hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, spa and beauty businesses). They will also seek to collect comments from experts and officials in tourism-related organisations (e.g., Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Thai Hotel Association, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports). Key questions that will be addressed in this project include:
- What kinds of linguistic challenges is Thai tourism facing in catering for international visitors?
- What types of language resources are available and needed in Thai tourism?
- Is there any relationship between language proficiency and mobility of workers in tourism?
- As a holiday destination, how is Thailand represented globally?
As part of the project, Ingrid has been invited to visit Assumption University in July to jointly conduct a two-day workshop with the research team. The workshop will be designed to highlight the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding tourism and language issues inherent in the industry. More information will be available at the project site shortly. Throughout the life of the project (March 2013 – August 2014), updates about data collection and collaboration with partners will be made regularly on its interactive website and through Facebook and Twitter.