Attitudinal and Motivational Profiles of Second Foreign Language Learners in Multilingual Contexts

Susan Sayehli, Rakel Österberg, Jonas Granfeldt

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragPosterPeer review


Abstract: Reports and studies repeatedly indicate that foreign languages other than English are facing major challenges in European educational systems (European Commission, 2012). In Sweden, pupils’ motivation to learn a second foreign language (SFL) is reported to be low while motivation to learn English is high (Eurobarometer 2012, Tholin & Lindqvist 2009). While there are plenty of studies studying different aspects of multilingualism, until recently, only few studies have examined how learners’ motivations to learn different languages influence each other (Csizer & Dörnyei, 2005; Csizér & Lukács, 2010). In Sweden, Henry (2012) found that the motivation to learn English (conceptualized as the ideal L2 self, Dörnyei, 2009) was related negatively to the motivation to learn an SFL (ideal L3 self of Spanish/German). This interpreted as an “English-is-enough”-attitude has also been argued to particularly usurp instrumental motivations (Gardner & Lambert, 1972) to learn an SFL (Oakes, 2013). Even though SFLs face common challenges in educational systems, they enjoy different popularity in schools. While Spanish as an SFL has experienced an upswing (Hyltenstam & Österberg 2010), mainly at the expense of German, French is disappearing from parts of Sweden. Studies investigating the increased interest in Spanish have pointed to integrative motivational aspects (Riis & Francia, 2013). Also gender usually affects language choice and learning motivations (Henry, 2010). Taken together however, little is known about how different attitudinal and motivational variables for different languages affect each other and whether there are learner-general or language-specific motivational profiles across learners in multilingual contexts. The research questions of the present study were therefore a) are there attitudinal and/or motivational differences between learners of different SFLs b) how do attitudes to English, language background and gender interact with SFL motivations and c) are there different motivational profiles of SFL learners in Sweden. The current study investigated attitudes to English (N=138) and the motivation to study German (n=45), Spanish (n=34) and French (n=59) of 9th grade SFL learners (age 15) of fifteen schools, randomly selected from a larger sample. Using an electronic questionnaire, we examined different attitudinal, motivational and affective constructs (instrumental motivation (7 items; Lambert & Gardner, 1972), L3 ideal self (9 items; Dörnyei, 2009), Willingnessto-communicate (WTC; 8 items; McCroskey and Richmond, 1991) and foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA; 9 items; Horwitz et al., 1986). Cronbach’s alphas for all but the instrumentality scale were over .80. Preliminary results showed that despite different popularity of SFLs, there were no significant attitudinal and/or motivational differences between learners of different SFLs. Overall SFL learners did not express attitudes confirming strong “English-is-enough”-attitudes. Relating the constructs to each other we found, however, that the more English was considered important (r = -.28, p=.001) and instrumentally sufficient (r=-.19, p=.33), the more negative were the learners’ ideal L3 selves. There was no significant correlation between attitudes to English and instrumental SFL motivations. A gender effect showed that females had more positive ideal L3 selves (F(1,124)= 7.0, p=.009), lower FLCA (F(1,130)=8.78, p=004) and less WTC than males. A cluster analysis will show whether different attitudinal, motivational and affective variables will reveal different motivational profiles of Swedish SFL learners. The results so far support findings by Henry (2012) who found a negative relationship between ideal L2 and L3 self. Hypotheses by Oakes (2013) who suggested that an “English-is-enough”-attitude would usurp instrumental SFL motivations was not supported. The results will be discussed in view of how different attitudinal and motivational constructs interact and, whether there are general or language-specific motivational profiles across learners in multilingual contexts. Finally we will discuss implications of our findings for theorizing the motivational construct within SLA studies.
Antal sidor1
StatusPublished - 2019 aug. 30
EvenemangEuroSLA 29, 2019 - Lund, Sverige
Varaktighet: 2019 aug. 282019 aug. 31
Konferensnummer: 29


KonferensEuroSLA 29, 2019

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
  • Lärande


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