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CARLA Presentation: “Russian is Not My Ex, We are Just Estranged”: A Language Learning Journey as a Love Affair 
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. (Central Time)

The idea of language learning as identity construction, a process engaging one's mind, body, and emotions, has been consistently theorized and explored by researchers since the early 2000s (e.g., Block 2007; Kramsch 2009; Pavlenko 2005), and empirical studies focusing on the emotional aspect of language learning are increasing in number. This talk will present the results of a longitudinal (2015–2020) case study of one Russian language learner's journey. During the study, Alyosha, the main participant, graduated from a university with a major in Russian, went to law school, and eventually became a history teacher. The data include multiple interviews, social media feeds, journal entries, notes, class assignments, poetry, and photos that together document language learning in a university classroom, a study abroad trip, and postgraduate studies, and capture the pivotal moments of the process. Using a narrative approach and following the participant’s view of his Russian learning, I will tell a story of a love affair, from the moment of falling in love with learning Russian to the eventual separation, when the participant had to discontinue his studies due to personal reasons, and discuss the impact that it had, and continues to have, on his life.

Irina Zaykovskaya is a Lecturer at the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic, and Dutch at the University of Minnesota where she teaches Russian and World Englishes. Her areas of expertise are second language learning and language ideologies, and she studies how beliefs and attitudes affect one’s language learning journey.

Feb 15, 2023 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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