The Relation Between Language Learner Motivation and Language-Related Learner Attitudes




Stephan, Morgan

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This quantitative and qualitative study examines the relationship between language learner motivation and language-related learner attitudes. Motivation has been a prominent research topic in second-language acquisition for several decades, beginning with the work of Wallace Lambert and Robert Gardner (Gardner and Lambert, 1972), who were the first to determine that motivation plays a significant role in language learning success, beyond cognitive and environmental factors. (Dörnyei, 2013, p. 40). Their research paved the way for other researchers such as Zoltán Dörnyei, a prominent researcher in the field of motivation and second language acquisition. My research question is inspired by his work, particularly his research on how Hungarian students perceive various languages including English, where he found that they view English as “the ‘must-have’ language, diminishing their interest in and motivation for learning other foreign languages, including the traditional regional language, German” (Dörnyei et al. 2006, as cited in Dörnyei, 2013). The research uses questionnaires based closely on those used by Dörnyei and Taguchi (2009) and Dörnyei (2006) to investigate whether and how foreign/second language learner motivation is related to the attitudes of foreign/second language learners towards the languages they are learning, their native language, and other languages, including such factors as the languages’ perceived prestige, the perception of their associated cultures and nations, students’ attitudes towards learning, and the perceived omnipresence of English in the world. While both native and second language speakers of English found it to be more prestigious than native and second language speakers of Spanish found Spanish, there was no difference in their perception of their cultures or in their attitudes towards learning. Other than the prestige factors, where both native and learner groups of English and Spanish ranked their languages high on the scale, but differed to the degree in which they ranked it, there was no significant difference between English and Spanish native and second language (henceforth L2) speakers in terms of their perception of the omnipresence of English in the world.



attitudes, motivation, language learners, linguistics, language, Honors College


Stephan, M. (2019). The relation between language learner motivation and language-related learner attitudes (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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