Beliefs about Language Learning in Study Abroad: Advocating for a Language Ideology Approach


  • Victoria Surtees



Language learning, Study abroad, Education abroad


Governments, institutions, and students alike have a number of assumptions about the inherent value of the study abroad for language learning (Allen & Dupuy, 2012; Twombly, Salisbury, Tumanut, & Klute, 2012). To date the study abroad literature has conceptualized these assumptions as student-internal beliefs, motivations, perspectives and expectations. This paper proposes a language ideologies perspective as alternative to these learner-centred constructs in order to better recognize students’ beliefs and practices as socially and historically constituted. This paper reviews the main findings from beliefs-focused study abroad research before turning to the theoretical literature on language ideologies. Using illustrative studies to examine the affordances of a language ideology framework, I consider how notions of language ideology might provide new avenues for explaining how expectations become established resources for interpreting the study abroad experience.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Victoria Surtees

Victoria Surtees is a PhD student in Teaching English as a second language at the University of British Columbia. She has been teaching English to international, exchange, and adult students for over 10 years in both France and Canada.  Her work uses mobile technologies to investigate that affordances second language interaction for language learning during study abroad.


Allen, H. W. (2010). Language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad: An activity theory perspective. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 27–49. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01058.x

Allen, H. W., & Dupuy, B. (2012). Study abroad, foreign language ese, and the communities standard. Foreign Language Annals, 45(4), 468–493. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2013.01209.x

Amuzie, G. L., & Winke, P. (2009). Changes in language learning beliefs as a result of study abroad. System, 37(3), 366–379. doi:10.1016/j.system.2009.02.011

Asker, A., & Martin-Jones, M. (2013). “A classroom is not a classroom if students are talking to me in Berber”: Language ideologies and multilingual resources in secondary school English classes in Libya. Language and Education, 27(4), 343–355. doi:10.1080/09500782.2013.788189

Benson, P., Barkhuizen, G., Bodycott, P., & Brown, J. (2012). Study abroad and the development of second language identities. Applied Linguistics Review, 3(1), 173–193. doi:10.1515/applirev-2012-0008

Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Blommaert, J. (2006). Language ideology. In Brown (Ed.), Encylopedia of language and linguistics (Vol. 6, pp. 510–522). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Brux, J. M., & Fry, B. (2010). Multicultural students in study abroad: Their interests, their issues, and their constraints. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 508–527.

Budach, G., Roy, S., & Heller, M. (2003). Community and commodity in French Ontario. Language in Society, 32(5), 603–627. doi:10.1017/S0047404503325011

Cameron, D. (2006). Ideology and language. Journal of Political Ideologies, 11(2), 141–152. doi:10.1080/13569310600687916

Carter, P. (2014). National narratives, institutional ideologies, and local talk: The discursive production of Spanish in a “new” US Latino community. Language in Society, 43(2), 209–240.

Caton, K., & Santos, C. a. (2009). Images of the Other: Selling study abroad in a postcolonial world. Journal of Travel Research, 48(2), 191–204. doi:10.1177/0047287509332309

Chen, L., & Belgeonne, C. (2007). Global citizenship & study abroad: It’s all about U.S. Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, 1(2), 16–28.

Darvin, R., & Norton, B. (2015). Identity and a model of investment in applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, 36–56. doi:10.1080/14759550903558201

De Costa, P. (2010). Language ideologies and standard English language policy in Singapore: Responses of a “designer immigrant” student. Language Policy, 9(3), 217–239. doi:10.1007/s10993-010-9176-1

De Costa, P. (2011a). The power of language ideologies: Designer immigrants learning English in Singapore. University of Wisconson Madison.

De Costa, P. (2011b). Using language ideology and positioning to broaden the SLA learner beliefs landscape: The case of an ESL learner from China. System, 39(3), 347–358. doi:10.1016/j.system.2011.07.007

De Costa, P. (2012). Constructing SLA differently: The value of ELF and language ideology in an ASEAN case study. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 22(2), 205–224. doi:10.1111/j.1473-4192.2012.00309.x

De Fina, A., & King, K. (2011). Language problem or language conflict? Narratives of immigrant women’s experiences in the US. Discourse Studies, 13(2), 163–188. doi:10.1177/1461445610392135

DeKeyser, R. (2010). Monitoring processes in Spanish as a second language during a study abroad program. Foreign Language Annals, 43(1), 80–92. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01061.x

Diao, W., Freed, B., & Smith, L. (2011). Confirmed beliefs or false assumptions? A study of home stay experiences in the French study abroad context. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21, 109–143.

Dolby, N. (2004). Encountering an American self: Study abroad and national identity. Comparative Education Review, 48(2), 150–173.

Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal, 81(3), 285–300.

Gal, S. (1998). Multiplicity and contention among ideologies. In B. Schieffelin, K. Woolard, & P. Kroskrity (Eds.), Language ideologies: Practice and theory (pp. 318–331). New York: Oxford University Press.

Gilmore, A. (2007). Authentic materials and authenticity in foreign language learning. Language Teaching, 40(02), 97. doi:10.1017/S0261444807004144

Harissi, M., Otsuji, E., & Pennycook, A. (2012). The performative fixing and unfixing of subjectivities. Applied Linguistics, 33, 524–543. doi:10.1093/applin/ams053

Hernandez, T. A. (2010). The relationship among motivation, interaction, and the development of second language oral proficiency in a study-abroad context. The Modern Language Journal, 94(4), 600–617.

Isabelli-Garcia, C. (2004). A case study of the factors in the development of Spanish linguistic accuracy and oral communication skills: Motivation and extended interaction in the study abroad context. New York: Edwin Mellen Press.

Jackson, J. (2008). Language, identity, and study abroad: Sociocultural perspectives. London: Equinox.

Jaffe, A. (2009). Stance in a Corsican school. In A. Jaffe (Ed.), Stance. Sociolinguistic perspectives (pp. 119–145). New York: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, J. (2009). English as a lingua franca: Interpretations and attitudes. World Englishes, 28(2), 200–207. doi:10.1111/j.1467-971X.2009.01582.x

Katz, M. (2000). Workplace langauge teaching and the intercultural construction of idologies of competence. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 57(1), 144–172.

Kaypak, E., & Ortaçtepe, D. (2014). Language learner beliefs and study abroad: A study on English as a lingua franca (ELF). System, 42, 355–367.

King, K. (1999). Language ideologies and heritage language education. American Association of Applied Linguistics. Stamford, CT.

Kinginger, C. (2009). Language learning and study abroad. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kroskrity, P. (2004). Language ideologies. In A. Duranti (Ed.), A Companion to linguistic anthropology (pp. 496–517). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Lee, J. (2014). Experiences of intensive English learners: Motivations, imagined communities, and identities. English Language Teaching, 7(11), 28–38. doi:10.5539/elt.v7n11p28

Li, M., Olson, J. E., & Hanson Frieze, I. (2012). Students’ study abroad plans: The influence of motivational and personality factors. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.

Liddicoat, A. J. (2007). The ideology of interculturality in Japanese language-in-education policy. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 30(2), 20.1–20.16. doi:10.2104/aral.v30i2.1956

Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. New York: Routledge.

Lippi-Green, R. (2004). Language ideology and language prejudice. In E. Finegan & J. Rickford (Eds.), Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century (pp. 289–304). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lo, A. (2009). Lessons about respect and affect in a Korean heritage language school. Linguistics and Education, 20(3), 217–234. doi:10.1016/j.linged.2009.07.002

Makihara, M., & Schieffelin, B. B. (Eds.). (2007). Consequences of contact. Language ideologies and sociocultural transformations in Pacific societies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mar-Molinero, C., & Stevenson, P. (Eds.). (2006). Language ideologies, policies and practices: Language and the future of Europe. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

May, S. (2014). Disciplinary divides, knowledge construction and the multilingual turn. In S. May (Ed.), The multilingual turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education (pp. 7–31). New York: Routledge.

Mendelson, V. G. (2002). “Hindsight is 20/20”: Student perceptions of language learning and the study abroad experience. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 43–63.

Miller, E. (2009). Orienting to “being ordinary”: the (re)construction of hegemonic ideologies in interactions among adult immigrant learners of English. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6(4), 315–344. doi:10.1080/15427580903337446

Mori, M. (2014). Conflicting ideologies and language policy in adult ESL: Complexities of language socialization in a majority-L1 classroom. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 13(3), 153–170. doi:10.1080/15348458.2014.919810

Needham, S. (2003). “This is active learning”: Theories of language, learning, and social relations in the transmission of Khmer literacy. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 34, 27–49.

Nguyen, S. (2014). “F” is for family, friend and faculty influences: Examining the communicated messages about study abroad at a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI). International Education, 43(2), 77–94.

Okamoto, S. (1997). Social context, linguistic ideology, and indexical expressions in Japanese. Journal of Pragmatics, 28(6), 795–817. doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(97)81491-9

Olivo, W. (2003). “Quit talking and learn English!”: Conflicting language ideologies in an ESL classroom. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 34(1), 50–71. doi:10.1525/aeq.2003.34.1.50

Palmer, D. (2011). The discourse of transition: Teachers’ language ideologies within transitional bilingual education programs. International Multilingual Research Journal, 5(2), 103–122. doi:10.1080/19313152.2011.594019

Park, G. (2012). “I am never afraid of being recognized as an NNES”: One teacher’s journey in claiming and embracing her nonnative-speaker identity. TESOL Quarterly, 46(1), 127–151. doi:10.1002/tesq.4

Park, J., & Bae, S. (2009). Language ideologies in educational migration: Korean jogi yuhak families in Singapore. Linguistics and Education, 20, 366–377. Retrieved from

Pelligrino, V. (1998). Student perspectives on language learning in a study abroad context. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 4, 91–120.

Pelligrino, V. (2005). Study abroad and second language use: Constructing the self. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Philips, S. (1998). Language ideologies in institutions of power. In B. Schieffelin, K. Woolard, & P. Kroskrity (Eds.), Language ideologies: Practice and theory (pp. 211–225). New York: Oxford University Press.

Pomerantz, A. (2005). Conversation analytic approach to the relevance and uses of relationship categories in interaction. In K. L. Fitch & R. E. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction (pp. 149–171). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pomerantz, A. (2006). Language ideologies and the production of identities: Spanish as a resource for participation in a multilingual marketplace. Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 21(2002), 275–302. doi:10.1515/mult.2002.012

Rampton, M. B. H. (1990). Displacing the “native speaker”: Expertise, affiliation, and inheritance. ELT Journal, 44(2), 97–101. doi:10.1093/elt/44.2.97

Razfar, A. (2005). Language ideologies in practice: Repair and classroom discourse. Linguistics and Education, 16(4), 404–424. doi:10.1016/j.linged.2006.04.001

Razfar, A. (2012). Narrating beliefs: A language ideologies approach to teacher beliefs. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 43(1), 61–81. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1492.2011.01157.x

Razfar, A., & Rumenapp, J. C. (2012). Language ideologies in English learner classrooms: Critical reflections and the role of explicit awareness. Language Awareness, 21(4), 347–368. doi:10.1080/09658416.2011.616591

Ricento, T. (2000). Ideology, politics and language policies: Focus on English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ricento, T. (2006). Americanization, language ideologies and the construction of European identities. In C. Mar-Molinero & P. Stevenson (Eds.), Language ideologies, policies and practices (pp. 44–57). Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Riley, K. (2012). Language socialization and language ideologies. In A. Duranti, E. Ochs, & B. B. Schieffelin (Eds.), The Handbook of language socialization (pp. 493–514). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Rumsey, A. (1990). Wording, meaning, and linguistic ideology. American Anthropologist, 92(2), 346–361.

Seargeant, P. (2008). Language, ideology and “English within a globalized context.” World Englishes, 27(2), 217–232. doi:10.1111/j.1467-971X.2008.00553.x

Silverstein, M. (1979). Language structure and linguistic ideology. In P. Clyne, W. Hanks, & C. Hofbauer (Eds.), The elements: A parasession on linguistic units and levels (pp. 193–247). Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.

Silverstein, M. (1992). The uses and utility of ideology: Some reflections. Pragmatics, 2(3), 311–323.

Sivakumaran, T., Tomida, E., Hall, H. K., & Sumida, M. (2013). Exploring factors determining motivation to participate in study abroad programs for teacher education students in the U.S.A. and Japan. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(6), 1–9.

Stroud, A. H. (2010). Who plans (not) to study abroad? An examination of U.S. student intent. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 491–507.

Tanaka, K., & Ellis, R. (2003). Study-abroad, language proficiency, and learner beliefs about language learning. JALT Journal, 25(1), 63–85.

Thomas, M. (2013). The problematization of racial/ethnic minority student participation in U.S. study abroad. Applied Linguistics Review, 4(2), 365–390. doi:10.1515/applirev-2013-0016

Trenchs-Parera, M., & Juan-Garau, M. (2014). Learner’s motivations and beliefs at home and abroad. In C. Pérez-Vida (Ed.), Language Acquisition in Study Abroad and Formal Instruction Contexts (p. 329). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Trentman, E. (2013). Imagined communities and language learning during study abroad: Arabic learners in Egypt. Foreign Language Annals, 46(4), 545–564.

Twombly, S., Salisbury, M., Tumanut, S., & Klute, P. (2012). Study abroad in a new global century. (K. Ward & L. Wolf-Wendel, Eds.). ASHE Higher Education Report.

van Dijk, T. (1995). Discourse semantics and ideology. Discourse & Society, 6(2), 243–289. doi:0803973233

Verschueren, J. (2012). Ideology in language use: Pragmatic guidelines for empirical research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wanger, S. P., Minthorn, R. S., Appleman, B., James, M., & Arnold, A. (2012). Participation in study abroad: An exploratory case study. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 36(4), 127–152.

Wilkinson, S. (1998). On the nature of immersion during study abroad: Some participant perspectives. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 4, 121–138.

Wilton, A., & Stegu, M. (2011). Bringing the “folk” into applied linguistics: An introduction. AILA Review, 24(1), 1–14. doi:10.1075/aila.24.01wil

Woolard, K. (1998). Introduction: Language ideology as a field of inquiry. In B. Schieffelin, K. Woolard, & P. Kroskrity (Eds.), Language ideologies: Practice and theory (pp. 3–47). New York: Oxford University Press.

Woolard, K., & Schieffelin, B. (1994). Language ideology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 23(1), 55–82. doi:10.1146/

Yang, J.-S., & Kim, T.-Y. (2011). Sociocultural analysis of second language learner beliefs: A qualitative case study of two study-abroad ESL learners. System, 39(3), 325–334. doi:10.1016/j.system.2011.07.005

Yen, W., & Stevens, P. (2004). Taiwanese students ’ perspectives on their educational experiences in the United States. Journal of International Education, 5(3), 294–307.

Zajda, J. (Ed.). (2010). Globalisation, ideology and education policy reforms. New York: Springer.

Zhang, Y. L., & Sun, J. (2014). Studying overseas: Factors impacting intention of female students in Mainland China. Journal of International Students, 3(2), 140–154.




How to Cite

Surtees , V. (2016). Beliefs about Language Learning in Study Abroad: Advocating for a Language Ideology Approach. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 27(1), 85–103.



Research Articles