Introduction to the Issue


  • Jo Mynard Kanda University of International Studies
  • Imelda Brady University of Granada
  • Sarah Mercer University of Graz




There are six regular papers and a review in this first issue and we extend our sincere thanks to all of the contributors in playing a role in establishing this journal with a strong collection of papers. In the first paper, Phil Benson from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia explores a largely neglected body of work relevant for an ecological perspective on foreign language education, namely, the pioneering work of the social psychologist George Herbert Mead (1863-1934). The aim of Benson’s paper is to draw upon some of the key ideas in Mead’s work to examine how it can add to our understanding of an ecological perspective on the psychology of language learning and use.

In the second paper, Zoltán Dörnyei from the University of Nottingham in the UK offers a personal account of the field of PLL from the perspective of someone who has been part of PLL’s journey for over three decades. Dörnyei reflects on the origins of SLA and its linguistic dominance and on the growing interest in psychology. Although psychology and SLA have taken different paths, the area of overlap is education where there is a shared interest in the personality and identity of the learner. The paper finishes with a look to the future, a focus on some challenges to overcome in the years ahead, and a proposed research agenda.

The next paper by Magdalena Kubanyiova from the University of Leeds in the UK and Zhen Yue from Xi’an Jiaotong University in China reports on a study into individuals’ willingness to communicate (WTC) in classroom settings. Taking a multidimensional view of an individual, and situating the study of WTC within students’ larger sociocultural settings, the authors use grounded theory to understand the WTC dynamics of one university student attending a general English course in mainland China. The findings suggest how WTC may shape learners’ investments in L2 learning through relationships with others.

In her paper, Diane Larsen-Freeman from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, USA speculates on why PLL is currently enjoying so much attention. Taking a complex dynamic systems theory (CDST) approach, she extends some new ways of thinking about PLL and offers advice for researchers and practitioners in the field for the coming years. She concludes by urging the PLL community to remain connected with other areas of applied linguistics in order to effectively continue to contribute to collaborative knowledge-building.

Masuko Miyahara from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan discusses some of the methodological issues surrounding researching emotions in applied linguistics. Revisiting a previous research study, Miyahara explores emotions and other interconnected factors such as identity, the L2 self, positionality, and learning experiences. The author uncovers a basic awareness of the challenges and issues involved in conducting such research and brings the notion of researcher’s reflexivity to the fore.

In the final regular paper, Kim Noels from the University of Alberta together with Shelley Adrian-Taylor, University of Regina, Canada; Kristie Saumure, New Zealand Ministry of Health, Wellington, and Joshua W. Katz also from the University of Alberta present a study on the influence of significant others in the language learning process. From the perspective of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the authors explore the supportive framework provided by teachers, family, friends, and peers as well as members of the target language community in different learning contexts for learners of heritage (HL), modern languages (ML) and English as a second language (ESL).

Finally, Sonia Babic from the University of Graz in Austria reviews Positive Psychology Perspectives on Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. Edited Collection by Danuta Gabryś-Barker and Dagmara Galajda. Babic notes that the field of Positive Psychology (PP) has recently started gaining the attention of researchers in language learning and teaching but is still in its infancy in the field of SLA, so she concludes that this is a much-needed edited volume offering theoretical, practical and empirical studies through the lens of PP. 


Mercer, S., & Ryan, S. (2016). Stretching the boundaries: Language learning psychology. Palgrave Communication, 2, 1–5. doi:10.1057/palcomms.2016.31



How to Cite

Mynard, J., Brady, I., & Mercer, S. (2019). Introduction to the Issue. JOURNAL FOR THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING, 1(1), 1-5. Retrieved from