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Durham University

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Publication details

Byram, M. (2020). Applied Linguist, Ethnographer, International(ist) Citizen - Perspectives on the Language Learner. Status Quaestionis. Language, Text, Culture 19: 95-108.

Author(s) from Durham


In this article, I consider three ways of envisioning the language learner, and the disciplines or theories on which they are based. The language learner as ‘applied linguist’ suggests that learners and their teachers draw on linguistic analyses of the language they are learning/teaching. To see the language learner as ‘ethnographer’ means to include the skills, knowledge and attitudes of ethnography in what is taught/learnt. The language learner as international/intercultural citizen needs to take into account insights from both citizenship education and internationalism, a counterforce to nationalism and chauvinism, which language teaching is well-placed to support.
In pursuing these three possible visions of the language learner the crucial criterion is that language learning should have educational value and respond to contemporary societal conditions.