Language learning and making 
the mundane special

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In this article I examine ways in which emotional distance is narrated in autobiographical accounts of language learning and then I suggest how these insights might inform the pedagogic goal of integrating creativity and emotion in language teaching. Citing extracts from autobiographical interviews (with British adults who had learnt French or German) I show how learners valorize the language learning experience, both linguistically (through ludic engagement with new semiotic resources) and culturally (through self-positioning as cosmopolitan outsiders). My claim is that this type of narrative analysis may help us to understand how some learners construct and negotiate interactions with foreign language, not based on communicative efficacy but on engagement with the symbolic aspects of wordplay and reconfiguring one’ s relationship with language.


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