Desire for English in Youth: An Exploratory Study of Language Learners in Pakistan

Sham Haidar, Fizza Farukh, Shazia Dar


English being the official language is a source of prestige and necessary for recognition in Pakistan. Research studies usually debate the positive and negative influence of English on students in developing countries. However, the concept of desire attached with acquiring English is a less explored area. The present study attempts to understand the desire of Pakistani students majoring in English, for understanding their meaning-making for selecting English as their major. Using qualitative method, the data were collected through interviews, focus groups and mind-maps of students. The study participants were undergraduate students in a public university in the capital city Islamabad. The data were recorded, transcribed and coded using constructivist grounded theory for obtaining themes. The findings revealed that the youth’s association with English language is not just for gaining prestige; rather, they share deeper affiliations with includes a desire for acquiring the native persona, attaining global solidarity and achieving communicative competence. The attached desire with English language and its literature can have positive effect on students’ motivation to excel in their studies; however, unrealistic desires can harm students. The findings of the study hence, add to improvement in English language instruction and understanding of desires among the students.


communicative competence, global solidarity, language desire, native persona, societal projection

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