Pop cosmopolitanism and online language learning: findings from a discrete choice experiment

Nathaniel Ming Curran, Lichen Zhen, Hernan Galperin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers the burgeoning online market for language learning as representative of an emerging form of Internet-enabled pop cosmopolitanism. The analysis is based upon a survey-experiment conducted on one of the world’s largest online language learning platforms. Drawing on theories of media globalization, cosmopolitanism and language ideologies, the study explores the factors that drive participation in online language learning and the attributes students favor in teacher selection. The results suggest that student preferences are closely related to learning motivations and media consumption. Specifically, ‘pop cosmopolitan’ students are far more likely to favor native speakers than students who are motivated by more mundane instrumental goals (such as career advancement). We attribute these findings to enduring perceptions about native speakers as more authentic representations of a particular language and culture. The implications of these findings for theories of pop cosmopolitanism and online language learning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • discrete choice experiment
  • Language learning
  • media globalization
  • online learning
  • pop cosmopolitanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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