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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  • May 14, 2012
  • 09:19 PM

Is bilingualism impolite?

by Hanna Torsh in Language on the Move

I’m chatting in English to a medical student from Germany who is visiting Sydney, Australia, and we’ve already talked about how I lived in Germany for a while and speak German. In the middle of a chat about which part … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 27, 2012
  • 09:49 AM

Yiman does not have a word for ‘massacre’

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Memorial to Yiman leader Bilba at Wallumbilla (Source: Goodbye Bussamarai) On October 27, 1857, a group of Aboriginal Australians, members of a group known as Yiman carried out a massacre: they attacked Hornet Bank Station, a newly-established large sheep run … Continue reading →... Read more »

Reid, Gordon. (1982) A Nest of Hornets: The Massacre of the Fraser Family at Hornet Bank Station, Central Queensland, 1857, and Related Events. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. info:/

  • April 20, 2012
  • 05:12 AM

Globalisation and nationalism

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Many things have changed in Australia since I first came here in the mid-1990s. One of these is a noticeable increase in displays of national ardour: for instance, there is the ever-expanding flag-waving and display of the national colours on … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 26, 2012
  • 08:03 AM

English belongs to everyone?

by Christof Demont-Heinrich in Language on the Move

The claim that “English belongs to everyone who uses it” has continued to gain more and more cultural cache, at least in global (English) academic circles. On the surface, the claim that “English belongs to everyone who uses it” makes … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 7, 2012
  • 05:17 AM

Strange academic women

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

We are marking International Women’s Day here on Language-on-the-Move with a portrait of Cezaria Baudouin de Courtenay Ehrenkreutz Jędrzejewiczowa, the first female Chair Professor of Anthropology at Warsaw University and, possibly, anywhere else in the world. Like many successful women … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 01:19 AM

The sociolinguistics of nail care

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Have you recently had a manicure or a pedicure? I haven’t. In fact, I’ve never been to a nail salon in my life. Until about a decade ago that would not have been unusual among my friends and acquaintances. Today, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 20, 2012
  • 02:11 AM

Bilingualism: Bane or Boon?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Hungarians in Romania Up until a few decades ago, the academic consensus – along with public opinion – was that bilingualism is detrimental to the individual and society. Nowadays, that has all changed and the new consensus is that bilingualism … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 14, 2012
  • 06:23 PM

Language shift and phone sex

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ever since I left my native village in the Bavarian Forest more than 25 years ago, I have been returning for regular, even if infrequent, visits. Over the years, there have been many changes and two of them have been … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lucht, F., Frey, B., & Salmons, J. (2011) A Tale of Three Cities: Urban-Rural Asymmetries in Language Shift?. Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 23(04), 347-374. DOI: 10.1017/S1470542711000195  

  • November 25, 2011
  • 12:07 AM

Language costs

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

USD 254,000: that is the cost of raising two children bilingually in English and German in Denver, Colorado. That’s a lot of money, and inspired me to do some number-crunching of my own. To begin with, it’s a reminder that … Continue reading →... Read more »

Phillipson, R. (2008) THE LINGUISTIC IMPERIALISM OF NEOLIBERAL EMPIRE . Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 5(1), 1-43. DOI: 10.1080/15427580701696886  

  • November 3, 2011
  • 09:25 PM

Learn English, Make Friends!

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

How to make English-speaking friends is one of the perennial hot topics for new overseas students and new migrants. Advice on how to make “native” friends circulates like an underground currency: “Move in with English-speaking flat-mates!” “Avoid co-ethnics!” “Watch footy … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ryan, Louise. (2011) Migrants' social networks and weak ties: accessing resources and constructing relationships post‐migration. The Sociological Review, 59(4), 707-724. info:/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2011.02030.x

  • October 18, 2011
  • 06:49 PM

The politics of subtitling

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Recently, I watched a TV documentary about the proliferation of Nomura jellyfish in Japanese coastal waters. It was a shocking tale of the devastating environmental, economic, social and human impact of overfishing, global warming and marine pollution. The reason I’m … Continue reading →... Read more »

Susana A. Eisenchlas, Chiharu Tsurutani. (2011) YOU SOUND ATTRACTIVE! PERCEPTIONS OF ACCENTED ENGLISH IN A MULTILINGUAL ENVIRONMENT. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 34(2), 216-236. info:/

  • October 6, 2011
  • 01:34 AM

Toiletological English

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Can you guess what kind of product the following text is promoting? Your well-being is close to our heart rail&fresh [product] areas are bright and friendly and leave nothing to be desired. The [product] facilities are kept perfectly clean round … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 13, 2011
  • 12:59 AM

Turkish alphabetisation for German integration

by Victoria Benz in Language on the Move

Contemporary Germany is the 3rd largest immigrant-receiving country internationally. In 2008, 15.6mio inhabitants (19% out of a total of 82.1mio) were post-1950 immigrants or their descendants (German Bureau of Statistics). With 2.9mio, Turks constitute the largest group of these. Unfortunately, … Continue reading →... Read more »

Benz, Victoria. (2011) Koordinierter Lese-Schreib-Lehrgang Türkisch-Deutsch im ersten Schuljahr. Durchführung und Evaluation eines Unterrichtskonzeptes. Deutsch als Zweitsprache, 29-40. info:/

  • August 26, 2011
  • 03:50 AM

Does internationalization change research content?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Every linguistics undergraduate student is by now familiar with the fact of linguistic imperialism in academic publishing where the pressure to publish in international journals translates into the pressure to publish in English, leaving researchers from non-English-speaking backgrounds at a … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 16, 2011
  • 09:10 AM

Free language choice?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Pretty much everyone I know wants to learn English or improve their English – with the exception of those who consider themselves native speakers, obviously. What is more, everyone I know knows that everyone else wants to learn English (the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 10, 2011
  • 11:59 PM


by Lachlan Jackson in Language on the Move

Having lived and taught English in Japan for more than fifteen years, until last night I’d thought I’d seen it all. That was until I stumbled across the もし彼氏が外国人だったら英会話 (What if my Boyfriend was a Foreigner English Conversation [my translation]) … Continue reading →... Read more »

Takahashi, Kimie. (2010) Multilingual couple talk: Romance,identity, and the political economy of language. D. Nunan , 199-207. info:/

  • July 20, 2011
  • 01:51 AM

The cult of personal responsibility

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ads for a campaign to speak German are currently all over Germany. The campaign is called “Ich spreche Deutsch” (I speak German) and aims to convince migrant youths to learn more German or learn German faster. The campaign’s clever slogan … Continue reading →... Read more »

VIRGINIA P. COLLIER. (1989) How Long? A Synthesis of Research on Academic Achievement in a Second Language. TESOL Quarterly, 509-531. info:/

  • June 27, 2011
  • 02:06 AM

Not knowing English good for business?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The current global orthodoxy holds that learning English is good: individuals who know English are supposed to have an advantage in the job market and countries with large English-learning populations are supposed to be “developing” and “modernizing.” Critical sociolinguists have, … Continue reading →... Read more »

NEIL M. COE, JENNIFER JOHNS AND KEVIN WARD. (2012) Limits to expansion: transnational corporations and territorial embeddedness in the Japanese temporary staffing market. Global Networks, 12(1), 1-26. info:/

  • June 20, 2011
  • 05:13 AM

Tyranny of Language

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Our contributor in Karachi, Md. Ali Khan, has alerted me to what seems to be a fascinating book: The Tyranny of Language in Education by Zubeida Mustafa published by Ushba Books. I’d love to read the book but trying to … Continue reading →... Read more »

Han, Huamei. (2011) Social inclusion through multilingual ideologies, policies and practices: a case study of a minority church. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 14(4), 383-398. info:/

  • June 2, 2011
  • 08:44 AM

Language revitalization and liberation

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I’ve recently come across the story of Chibana Shoichi, who burnt the Japanese flag in 1987 to commemorate the Okinawan victims of WWII Japanese militarism. The story is intriguing not because of the flag-burning incident but because Shoichi also keeps … Continue reading →... Read more »

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