Social context and resources for language learning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Until recently, research in applied linguistics has tended to treat learners in relative isolation from their context, and to study primarily classroom and other educational contexts. This paper in contrast focuses on the contexts which frame learning, and in particular the resources which these contexts provide. A model is outlined which includes both material and social resources for language learning, and the interactions between them. This model is then applied to the learning resources used by a group of female university students in the United Arab Emirates. Students were found to make use of various opportunities in their life outside the university, to practise English and to clarify problems in using the language. Social networks were found to influence the accessibility and use of these resources, with gender and perceived expertise in English affecting students' use of resources. In addition, students were found to act as sources of English expertise for other members of their family, in ways that contribute to their social identity within the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-370
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Language learning
  • Resources
  • Social context
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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