Emerging Self-Identities and Emotion in Foreign Language Learning A Narrative-Oriented Approach Author: Masuko Miyahara

Hardback - 216 pages
16 Jul 2015
Second Language Acquisition
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book uses a narrative-oriented approach to shed light on the processes of identity construction and development among Japanese university students of English. The research highlights the instrumental agency of individuals in responding to and acting upon the social environment, and in developing, maintaining and/or reconstructing their identities as L2 users. The study offers unique insights into the role of experience, emotions, social and environmental affordances in shaping their personal orientations to English and self-perceptions as English learner-users. It also examines individuals’ responses to these factors and discusses fluctuations in their motivations. The additional value of this book lies in its detailed account of methodological procedures, challenges and ways to overcome obstacles encountered when undertaking qualitative longitudinal studies.


Miyahara’s detailed and illuminating narrative study of university students in Japan offers new insights into the role of experience and emotion in language learning in an EFL context. This book brings to life both current theories surrounding identity and motivation in language learning and complex methodological issues that arise in the research of these important concepts. 

- Alison Stewart, Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan

This book uniquely incorporates Dewey’s work on experience to the development of an understanding of situated learning, imagined communities and the L2 ideal self. Miyahara links social and psychological factors in an effective and innovative way, making for a complex model of L2 identity which she applies masterfully to the English language learning narratives of Japanese university students. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in L2 identities, either from a theoretical or practical perspective.

- David Block, ICREA/Universitat de Lleida, Spain

This is a bold study that brings together psychological and sociological perspectives on the motivation to learn English of six young Japanese. Informed both by wide reading and an intimate knowledge of context, Miyahara uses a narrative approach to demonstrate convincingly how the learners' experiences with English in childhood and adolescence colour their attitudes and motivation to learn during their first year at college.

- Martin Lamb, University of Leeds, UK

Miyahara’s monograph contributes to identity research by constructing a theoretical framework combining both post-structuralist and psychological theories of identity (...) The explored EFL learners’ identities strengthen the field by shedding more light on the diverse ways in which English learners in EFL (as opposed to ESL) contexts construct their identities as English users in the globalized world. Furthermore, the detailed discussion of narrative analysis provides methodological insights for interested researchers to further develop the approach.

- Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 16:4 - Hui-Jung Tang, University of Rochester, USA

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I found it a thought-provoking and stimulating read for those interested in identities, the self, and emotions, and their interplay with foreign language learning. Additionally, anyone with an interest in
conducting research using learner narratives may use it as an informative guide to the process and be alert to challenges that this type of research might pose.

- ELT Journal, Volume 71, Issue 3 - Christina Gkonou, University of Essex, UK

Author Biography:

Masuko Miyahara is Lecturer at the International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan. She has been working in the field for over 20 years and her areas of interest include identity studies and language learning, autonomy, emotions in language learning and methodological issues related to language learning research.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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