Thursday, March 13, 2014

Identity Investment

You wish to learn French 
to win at tennis?
Clyde declares he will take lessons…
Bonny: French? You’re not French.

Clyde: When I play tennis with Rochefoucald, I speak French to him. He says my accent is so bad he cannot help but laugh. And when he laughs, he loses the point.

Bonny: That is your motivation for learning French?

Clyde: Mais oui. If I learn even more French, he will laugh more and I will win more often.

Bonny: But if you become good at French, you will develop a French identity. Then when you speak, Rochefoucald will not laugh, he will win the tennis and you will lose your investment.

Clyde: Then I must find a teacher to teach me bad French. Hercule Poirot? Belgian French peut-être. That is the identity I must invest in.

Motivation for learning a language is being tied to investing in identity. See Norton (2000).


rolenzo said...

then, learning to ride a hog is an investment in pork bellies?

rolenzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry Natusch said...

Classic! Just as learning to garden is motivates to cook lamb (Gardner and Lambert, 1972).