The Effects of English Language Learning on the Perception and Value of Regional and National Identity in Colombia.
AbstractThere exist many popular ideas as to the supposed negative effects of English as a foreign language (EFL) education on local and national identities in Colombia, and this study examines whether there is any truth to such claims. While the relationship between target language and target language identity has been amply studied in the field of language and identity, the relationship between foreign language learning and original national and regional identities has yet to be explored in the nation-of-origin context. This study used a quantitative survey applied to 400 people with different levels of EFL instruction in Ibagué, Colombia, to seek to determine the nature of the relationship between EFL and variations in the worth and perception of regional and national identity over a period of exposure to EFL. The findings were that, in contrast to popular beliefs, EFL instruction over time not only increased the perceived worth of Colombian national identity significantly while slightly increasing the positive perception of regional (Tolimense) identity over the course of three years but also that national language identity, i.e., being a Hispanophone, increased as well. Additionally, in contrast to study abroad research conducted on language learning and identity, this study found that country-of-origin foreign language instruction does not entail the increased ethnocentricity found in study-abroad situations.
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