Lingoconomics – an Emerging Theory in Language Acquisition

This article explains an emerging theory in language acquisition. It is called Lingoconomics. Find out how this theory explains the rise in English language acquisition phenomenon in Asian countries.

Have you asked yourselves why many Filipinos would like to become proficient in English in order to work abroad? And why would many Koreans and Chinese study English in the Philippines? What are their reasons?

Lingoconomics is an emerging theory that attempts to describe and explain the recent phenomenon in language learning in Asian countries, particularly in the Philippines, Korea, and China.

I conceptualized this theory in November 2007, when my professor in the Psychology of Learning required us to come up with a personal theory. Since this is a major requirement in our doctorate program, my classmates and I talked about why people learn and study English.

I argued that nowadays, people want to learn English because they want to work or do business abroad. So, it has something to do with the economy – a kind of motivation to learn. I would admit that I was fascinated by the surge of Koreans and Chinese who would like to study English in the Philippines.

As I immersed with them, I found that their main reason is the relatively cheap but quality education we offer in the Philippines. Based on this observation, I used money as a determining factor in learning English. Thus, the word “lingoconomics” came into being. I coined the word from “language” and “economics.”

Lingoconomics was patterned from Lewin’s field theory. I incorporated the theories in language acquisition particularly the theories of acculturation (the process of becoming adapted to a new culture) and accommodation (the process on how intergroup uses of language reflect basic social and psychological attitudes in interethnic communication). But I would like to clarify that the “culture” being used in both theories refers to the culture of the native speakers of English. In my personal theory, the culture of the proficient non-native speakers of English like us, Filipinos, is used.

The Lingoconomics theory goes like this,


In order to learn basic English (Basic English Language Learning or BELL), one must have a high motivation (HM) to learn plus have a strong support group (SSG) plus the adaptability (A) of acquiring the culture of the proficient non-native speakers of English (CPnNS) plus self efficacy (SE) divided by the low-cost quality education (LCQE).

I believe that the Koreans and the Chinese can learn English in their own country or even in America, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

But why do they prefer to study in the Philippines?

It’s because MONEY, or the low cost of learning English, plays a major role in learning. This is the reason why I included LCQE in my theory because for me, low cost quality education could be a variable in learning English.

Students only need a language environment where they can practice their English. Once they learned the language, they will go to other countries like the Middle East in order to work or do business there. The money that they invest for their education and the money they earn from work or business is their motivation in acquiring the language, hence the emergence of the “Alvior’s Lingoconomics Theory.

© 2014 May 24 M. G. Alvior


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