Main Topic: Psychological Metaphors of English Meaning in Taiwan

Hosts: Nickola Pazderic, Clyde Warden

Anthropologist, and long-time Taiwan resident, Nickola Pazderic joins this research supplement to follow up with details on English as a product in the Chinese market discussed in show 20.

Dr. Pazderic has lived in Taiwan for nearly two decades. During that time, he performed anthropological research that was published in numerous journals, including the top ranked Journal of Cultural Anthropology. Currently, he is teaching at the University of Washington and raising his daughter, along with his wife who works for the Seattle school district.

Nick has been looking at English as a commodity within the larger trend of university education being treated like a consumable good. This fits in well with Clyde's research on the deep psychological motivators for studying English. Following up on the statistical work published in TESOL Q., this research uses a qualitative approach that includes grounded theory and interviews involving laddering and photo elicitation, where photographs taken by respondents are probed for meaning. 


An introduction to ZMET research and the steps Prof. Warden uses in the procedure.

Even if they were to become fluent, what would be there for them. There's just a minority of people who are really interested in getting out and finding the others, wherever they may be.

Document Downloads:

Download the draft paper: Glocalization of English Learning Motivation in a Post-Industrial Consumer Society (PDF)

The Show:

Length: 1 hour 8 minutes. Download MP3 28.2MB (Right click->Save As).



These are the summary images (collages) from 16 respondents in the ZMET study on English motivation in Taiwan. What these show are the underlying metaphors toward English. Each of the collages is follow with an interpretation showing the concepts of information, achievement, mobility, and negotiated meaning. The last two graphics show the overall mental map for the study and a combination of concepts from the interviews, grouped into a fishbone chart (this was done through the use of the research software XSight).

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • In post-export Taiwan, English is not very global.
  • The local education is fairly deterministic in how English learning is approached.
  • Intrinsic motivation exist, but for local language use.
  • English is just another product for consumers to buy in the marketplace.
  • Western theories about motivation are often prescriptive (what people should do).
  • Descriptive research shows what people are doing, and here assumptions may take a hard fall.
  • Researchers need to detach from their Western assumptions, especially flat world ideas.
  • English is a brand that stands for local social mobility.

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