In the Shadow of Global English? Comparing Language Learner Motivation in Germany and the United Kingdom

  • Ursula LanversEmail author
  • Gary Chambers


This chapter critically reviews research evidence from UK and German students on their motivation to learn languages, and contextualises the findings, both nationally and globally. Our introduction provides an overview of language education policies, and actual language learning uptake, in the four UK nations, and the 16 German Länder. This background serves to contextualise the empirical evidence on learner motivation from these countries: overall, UK publications show great concern over learner motivation, and the decline in language learning, while the–altogether scanter–evidence from Germany suggests that motivation for English is high, and on a rising trajectory, while motivation for other languages declines, despite strong governmental efforts to promote plurilingualism, itself aligned with European citizenship. We conclude that, in these countries, the ever-increasing dominance of English influences motivation: in the UK, in the direction of English monolingualism, and in Germany, in the direction of ‘foreign language monolingualism’.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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