Language on the Move

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Language on the Move is dedicated to language and communication in multicultural and transnational contexts: language learning, multilingualism and intercultural communication, in short, in Language and Communication on the Move (L.CoM)! The blog is part of the sociolinguistics portal created by Ingrid Piller and Kimie Takahashi. Visit to find out more about our work.

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  • July 11, 2010
  • 06:05 AM

Academic capitalism and the spread of English

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In 2009, I contributed a chapter about the social inclusion of migrants in Australia to an edited book about immigration policy published in Japanese in Japan. The book is doing well – a second edition has just been published – … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 02:56 AM

The colonial cringe in academia

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

When I lived in Abu Dhabi, I once visited a university in another Middle Eastern country. As part of the visit I did a guest lecture about my research, I met with colleagues to discuss our joint research interests and … Continue reading →... Read more »

Esmat Babaii. (2010) Opting Out or Playing the ‘Academic Game’? Professional Identity Construction by Off-Center Academics. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines, 4(1), 93-105. info:/

  • July 7, 2010
  • 03:57 AM

Men, English, and international romance

by Lachlan Jackson in Language on the Move

“Japanese guys aren’t the most popular creatures on earth when it comes to romance. Sad but true.” That’s the claim of Meiko Mochizuki Swartz, self-professed bilingual, bicultural ‘expert’ and author of an online book titled Nihonjin no Otoko wa Motenai … Continue reading →... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid . (2006) A passion for English: desire and the language market. Aneta Pavlenko. Ed. Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression, and representation (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 59-83. info:/

  • May 22, 2010
  • 02:37 AM

The f-word on the move

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Installment #7 in the mini-series on multilingual signage
When I lived in Basel in Switzerland, my then-preschool child was just learning to make sense of the alphabet and to sound out words – a development I obviously encouraged as much as I could by seizing every literacy opportunity. Generally speaking, pretty much everything can be a [...]... Read more »

Jørgensen, J. (2008) Urban Wall Languaging. International Journal of Multilingualism, 5(3), 237-252. DOI: 10.1080/14790710802390186  

  • May 19, 2010
  • 03:17 AM

French – the brand

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Installment #6 in the mini-series on multilingual signage
Multilingualism sells! Some forms of multilingualism that is. In the world of marketing, languages operate like brands: they are a signifier for something else but they are devoid of substance. To phrase it in Marxist terminology: the exchange value of languages has in some contexts come to overshadow [...]... Read more »

  • May 6, 2010
  • 10:08 AM


by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Installment #4 in the mini-series on multilingual signage
Toilets as an object of sociolinguistic research?! Not likely?! Think again! Today, I am going to discuss toilet signage as an indicator of how inclusive a society is.
Types of toilets and ways of cleaning yourself after using them are quite diverse internationally – thus, creating the potential for [...]... Read more »

Pavlenko, Aneta. (2005) 'Ask Each Pupil About Her Methods of Cleaning': Ideologies of Language and Gender in Americanisation Instruction (1900-1924). International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8(4), 275-297. info:/

  • April 28, 2010
  • 10:17 AM

English, the non-language

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Installment #2 in the mini-series on multilingual signage
Much of the signage that can be found in contemporary public spaces is commercial. It is a form of advertising, and language choice in commercial signage such as shop names is a good indicator of the values associated with a particular language. The basic idea is that the [...]... Read more »

Ritzer, G. (2007) The globalization of nothing 2. Thousand Oaks, CA, . info:/

  • April 22, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

In Memoriam Erwin Koller

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Erwin Koller, one of my teachers and mentors, in Lisbon this weekend. It’s a special gift when teacher and student become friends and form a lasting relationship and I will be forever grateful to Professor Koller for his teaching and his friendship.
During the three years I studied [...]... Read more »

Cristina Flores, & Orlando Grossegesse (Eds.). (2007) Wildern in luso-austro-deutschen Sprach- und Textgefilden: Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Erwin Koller [Roughing it in the linguistic and textual wilds of Portuguese, Austrian and German: Festschrift for Erwin Koller on the occasion of his 60th birthd. Braga, PT: Cehum - Centro de Estudos Humanísticos. info:/

  • April 12, 2010
  • 01:01 AM

Domestic violence in a multilingual world

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Non-English speakers’ access to emergency services in Australia is in the news again as a Melbourne man has been convicted of the murder of his wife. What makes the case particularly shocking is the fact that the victim, who was originally from Afghanistan, tried to call police a few days before the murder but couldn’t [...]... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid, & Takahashi, Kimie. (2010) Language, Migration, and Human Rights. Wodak, Ruth, Paul Kerswill and Barbara Johnstone. Eds. Handbook of Sociolinguistics. London: Sage. info:/

  • April 3, 2010
  • 11:51 AM

French Language Day

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I missed the UN’s French language day! It’s not the fact that I missed it that bothers me – I’m late for pretty much everything – it’s the fact that there is such a thing as a UN-sponsored French language day that I find surprising to say the least. Why the French language?! I mean [...]... Read more »

Alexandre Duchêne. (2008) Ideologies Across Nations. Mouton de Gruyter. info:/

  • March 16, 2010
  • 07:44 AM

Warning: Global English may harm your mental health

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

About ten years ago an overseas student from South Korea who was about to fail a unit I was teaching left a suicide note under my office door. She described herself as a “loser” who – in contrast to other overseas students – hadn’t got enough English to cope with her course. She wrote how [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 07:20 AM

Child pornography and English language learning

by Kimie Takahashi in Language on the Move

“Child pornography and English language learning”?! Could there be a connection?! Difficult to believe but true – I’m referring to a best selling English phrase book for Japanese high school students, Moetan: English phrase book.
Moetan’s storyline involves a smart high school girl, Inku, who has a crush on her classmate, Nao, an underachiever. To [...]... Read more »

Ingrid Piller . (2010) At the intersection of gender, language and transnationalism. In Nikolas Coupland. Ed. . Handbook of Language and Globalisation. Malden, MA: Blackwell. . info:/

  • February 28, 2010
  • 09:30 PM

Book reviewing and academic freedom

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I have served as book review editor for Discourse and Society for ten years and recently resigned from my roles as book review editor for Discourse Studies and Discourse and Communication because the workload had become too much for one person. In all those years I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as book review editor [...]... Read more »

Joseph H.H. Weiler. (2010) Editorial: Book Reviewing and Academic Freedom. European Journal of International Law, 20(4), 967-976. DOI: 10.1093/ejil/chp114  

  • February 21, 2010
  • 08:26 AM

Tipsy on multilingualism?!

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

English-speaking countries have a poor track record when it comes to language learning. Educators in Australia, the UK and the USA regularly bemoan that fact and call for a change in language policy to strengthen the learning of languages other than English. One of their key arguments is economic: language learning is good for the [...]... Read more »

Lo Bianco, Joe, & Slaughter, Yvette. (2009) Second Languages and Australian Schooling. Australian Council for Educational Research. info:/

  • February 16, 2010
  • 09:56 AM

Foreign nurses face the Kanji hurdle

by Kimie Takahashi in Language on the Move

Japan’s aging population and the growing number of young Japanese shunning ‘3D’ jobs (dirty, dangerous and demanding) has resulted in an increasing demand for foreign nurses and eldercare workers. In response, the Japanese government has recently started to recruit nurses and allied professionals from Indonesia and the Philippines under bilateral economic partnership agreements (EPA).
These Indonesian [...]... Read more »

Piller, I . (2011) Language, Migration, and Human Rights. In Wodak, Ruth, Paul Kerswill and Barbara Johnstone. Eds. Handbook of Sociolinguistics. . info:/

  • February 9, 2010
  • 07:22 PM

“We not ship to Russia”

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I went onto e-bay this weekend and, instead of the gadget I was after, found some non-standard uses of English negation: “We not ship to Russia” or “We not use cheap couriers.” The usage seems so frequent with various sellers that it’s hard to believe they don’t know any better. On the contrary, the structure [...]... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 10:18 PM

Monolingual mindset in the lucky country

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

National holidays are there to celebrate the nation and the opinion pages tend to be full of self-congratulation on such occasions. Australia is no exception and one of the more over-excited ones that was produced on the occasion of Australia Day last week came from Ross Cameron, a former Liberal (and in Australia that means [...]... Read more »

Clyne, Michael. (2005) Australia's Language Potential. UNSW Press. info:/

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:11 AM

Linguistic discrimination at work

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Deborah Cameron noted in 1995 that “linguistic bigotry is among the last publicly expressible prejudices left to members of the Western intelligentsia.” In the same vein, one could point out that linguistic discrimination is among the last legal forms of discrimination left to Western employers. A German court recently ruled that an employer’s repeated criticisms [...]... Read more »

Boutet, Josiane. (2008) La vie verbale au travail: Des manufactures aux centres d’appels [Language at work: from manufacturing to call centers]. Paris: Octares. info:/

  • January 14, 2010
  • 09:55 AM

Transliterated brand names

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I’ve just come across a 2006 University of South Africa MA thesis investigating Saudi fast-food ads. The author, Basem Abbas Al Agha, finds that
[…] 97% of the respondents believed that the translations are incomprehensible in Arabic. The other 3% stated that they sometimes understand the translations. (p. 92)
Even if the sample size is rather small, [...]... Read more »

Al Agha, Basem Abbas. (2006) The translation of fast-food advertising texts from English into Arabic. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of South Africa. info:/

  • January 9, 2010
  • 02:47 PM

Multilingual diversity marketing

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

As the UAE is still abuzz with the opening of the Burj Khalifa, I thought a post to mark the occasion might be in order. Seeing that I’m blogging on social aspects of multilingualism and language learning, the Tower of Babel myth obviously comes to mind – except that it seems a bit premature to [...]... Read more »

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