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Keywords:

  • Chinese learners;
  • college level;
  • heritage;
  • L2 self;
  • nonheritage

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

Dörnyei (2005) proposed the second language (L2) motivational self system in response to the need to develop the socioeducational model. This motivational theory has not been examined in language learners other than those studying English. This study, through investigating Chinese heritage and nonheritage language learners, found that the theory can be extended to motivation studies of Chinese learners and suggests the application to other language students. The findings demonstrate that the perspective of L2 self provides new insights into the motivation of foreign language learners and the heritage and nonheritage learner comparison. Finally, the study provides pedagogical implications corresponding to the findings.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

A number of models, including Gardner's (1985) socioeducational model, have attempted to explain differences in motivation across a variety of learners and settings. Since the 1990s, researchers have proposed other models (Dörnyei, 1990b, 1994a; Dörnyei & Csizer, 2002; Noels, 2003; Noels, Pelletier, & Vallerand, 2000; Ushioda, 2001; Yashima, 2000), one of which is the second language (L2) motivational self system (Dörnyei, 2005). A number of researchers have used this model to explain differences in motivation for learners of English as a foreign language (e.g. Csizer & Kormos, 2009; Kim, 2009; Ryan, 2009; Taguchi, Magid, & Papi, 2009; Yashima, 2009). In order to better understand differing types and levels of motivation in learners of Chinese as a foreign language, this study examined the validity of the L2 motivational self system as a framework and investigated the extent to which heritage and nonheritage language learners sought to approximate an ideal L2 self.

Review of Literature

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

Background

The socioeducational model (Gardner, 1985; Gardner & Lambert, 1972) identified the impact of the social and cultural milieu on L2 learning and addressed the significance of learners' attitudes toward the community during L2 acquisition. The model proposed two types of motivation—integrative and instrumental—with the former referring to positive attitudes and openness to the target language group and even an eventual intention to identify with them, and the latter referring to utilitarian motives for learning another language. However, the model was not without faults. First, although it was agreed that instrumentality and integrativeness were, to a certain extent, mutually inclusive (Dörnyei, 2010; Gardner & MacIntyre, 1993; Gardner, Tremblay, & Masgoret, 1997), the subjects whom Gardner and his associates investigated were quite young school learners who hence lacked consideration for future career and salaries (Dörnyei, 1994b); thus “instrumentality” was left unexplored (Oxford, 1996) and studies inevitably conveyed the incorrect impression that the socioeducational model dichotomized the two motivations (Dörnyei, 2010). What is more, some researchers have posited that integrative motivation does not exist in foreign language settings (Clement & Kruidenier, 1983; Dörnyei, 1990a, 1990b, 2003; Oxford, 1996; Oxford & Shearin, 1994; Warden & Lin, 2000): According to Clement and Kruidenier (1983), the two conditions that are necessary for the generation of integrativeness are the significance of the target language and the immediacy of intercultural contact. According to Dörnyei (2003) and Clement and Kruidenier, “bookish” interest in the target language and culture has been confused with integrative motivation. Finally, the definition of integrativeness has been far from consistent because it has embraced different degrees of openness to the target community, ranging from general interest to intentional membership in the community (Gardner, 2001; Gardner & Lambert, 1972), which has unfortunately caused inconsistent operationalization of integrativeness for research purposes. Belmechri and Hummel (1998) suggested replacing integrativeness with positive attitudes, while Crookes and Schmidt (1991) proposed that integrativeness was purely a positive attitude toward a target language community. With growing recognition of the aforementioned limitations, a new socioeducational model was needed.

L2 Motivational Self System

Dörnyei (2005) proposed an L2 motivational self system that included three motivational components: the ideal L2 self—the L2 self that learners want to become; the ought-to L2 self—the attributes that learners perceive they ought to possess; and the L2 learning environment—the motives related to immediate environment such as instructors, peers, and curriculum. The L2 motivational self system (Dörnyei, 2005, 2010) also incorporated the concept of “possible self,” the self that people hope to become (Markus & Nurius, 1986), and the concept of “self-discrepancy,” which conceptualized the gap between the current and the ideal/ought-to selves (Higgins, 1998). Indirectly, the system made a reference to self-determination theory that interpreted motivation on the continuum from extrinsic to intrinsic (Deci & Ryan, 2002). According to the L2 motivational self system, language learning is an effortful process to reduce the distance between the current and the ideal/ought-to L2 selves. Integrative disposition is directed to the L2-specific facet of the ideal L2 self, rather than the target language speakers. Thus, this theory redefines integrative motivation from the perspective of the L2-specific self by going beyond the literal meaning of integrate and so allows exploration in foreign language settings.

The monograph edited by Dörnyei and Ushioda (2009) has already validated the L2 motivational self system in English as a foreign language settings: Research has shown that the ideal L2 self has a significant relationship with integrativeness (Taguchi et al., 2009), international posture (how learners see their relationship to and position in the world), and willingness to communicate (Yashima, 2009), and that the ideal L2 self is a stronger motivational predictor than integrativeness (Al-shehri, 2009; Taguchi et al., 2009). Kim's (2009) study demonstrated that instrumentality could be merged into the ideal or ought-to L2 self, which therefore indicated that instrumentality and L2 self/integrativeness are mutually inclusive; thus, the instrumental-integrative dichotomy does not appear to be an issue with the L2 motivational self system. All these findings suggest that, as stated by Taguchi et al. (2009) “the concept of integrativeness can be re-interpreted in a broader frame of reference … the ideal L2 self achieved a better explanatory power toward learners' intended efforts” (p. 82).

Motivation of Heritage Language Learners of Chinese

In order to explore the applicability of the L2 motivational self system with Chinese language learners, it is pertinent to investigate heritage and nonheritage language learners separately because the former take a different motivation-processing route from the latter. He (2006) proposed that understanding the motivation of heritage learners poses particular challenges: heritage learners' identity is rooted in Chinese culture; thus, they more than likely desire to reinforce their connection with the Chinese community while also believing that learning Chinese will be rewarded economically in a progressively more globalized job market. He argued that heritage language learners' perception of the past-now-future continuity and local-global connection was correlated to learner motivation and learning success. Weger-Guntharp (2006) and Wong and Xiao (2010) also found that, regardless of the extent to which they were previously exposed to the language and culture, Chinese heritage learners desired to know more about the life of the heritage community (Weger-Guntharp, 2006) and needed to connect with what may have been a long-ignored aspect of their identity (Weger-Guntharp, 2006; Wong & Xiao, 2010). The same researchers also found that, in addition to integrative motivation described above, heritage learners also recognized that knowledge of the language and culture afforded them important practical considerations, including expanding job opportunities and future global careers. These studies suggested, therefore, that the ideal/ought-to self of heritage learners of Chinese takes into account both the learner's connections with the heritage culture and the economic benefits that can be obtained.

Although the L2 motivational self system has been validated in English as a foreign language settings and was supported by the findings in previous Chinese as a foreign language studies, the potential of this framework for helping instructors to better understand the factors that motivate heritage and nonheritage language learners still needs to be validated. This study addressed the following questions:

  1. To what extent is there a relationship between integrativeness and the ideal L2 self?
  2. To what extent is there a relationship between the ideal L2 self and international posture and willingness to communicate?
  3. Is the ideal L2 self a stronger motivational predictor than integrativeness?
  4. Does the ideal L2 self inherently incorporate the effects of learners' instrumentality-promotion?
  5. To what extent are there motivational differences between heritage and nonheritage language learners?

Methodology

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

Participants

Nine Chinese instructors at three public and three private universities in five states were invited to participate in the study. All of the universities were located in metropolitan areas where cultural diversity was embraced and intercultural interactions were common. Ultimately, seven of the nine professors (77.7%) at the institutions under consideration agreed to distribute the questionnaire, described below, to students in their classes. They sent back the completed questionnaires, 95% of which were valid and used. The student participants included 126 nonheritage and 82 heritage language learners (see Table 1) from 16 elementary-level Chinese classes.

Table 1. Demographics of the Participants
 FemaleMaleAge MAge SD
Nonheritage626420.23.09
Heritage424019.61.70

Instrument

The questionnaire that was used in this study drew on, and was adapted from, two established instruments that Taguchi et al. (2009) and Yashima (2009) developed to investigate motivation in learners of English as a second language. All items were phrased as statements to which participants were asked to indicate their level of agreement using a six-point Likert scale. The resulting draft questionnaire included 60 items that were grouped to form 11 scales: motivational strength (MOT–six items), the ideal L2 self (ILS–seven items), the ought-to L2 self (OLS—six items), family influence (FI—five items), promotion (the instrumentality to achieve personal goals; PRO—six items), prevention (the instrumentality to avoid negative outcomes; PRE—four items), attitudes toward learning Chinese (ATLC—five items), cultural interest (CI—five items), integrativeness (ITGRTV—five items), international posture (IP—six items), and willingness to communicate (WTC—five items). The draft questionnaire was distributed to 50 beginning-level nonheritage and 50 heritage language learners, and the resulting data were used to check item variation and the internal consistency of scales. Items for which more than 60% of the respondents checked the same answer were deleted. The results of this internal consistency analysis suggested that three items be removed for heritage language learners and four for nonheritage language learners in order to achieve a higher Cronbach's alpha coefficient. The final instrument included 57 items for heritage and 52 for nonheritage language learners (see Appendix). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient of each scale is displayed in Table 2. The seven instructors briefly explained the study to the students; emphasized the anonymity, confidentiality, and voluntariness of the survey; administered the questionnaires during regular class time; and returned them to the author.

Table 2. Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient of the Scales for Nonheritage and Heritage Language Learners
 MOTILSOLSFIPROPREATLCCIITGRTVIPWTC
Nonheritage0.810.700.740.690.770.730.640.650.830.750.78
Heritage0.800.800.740.780.850.650.750.760.770.770.80

Statistical Methods

Correlations were used to assess the relationship between the ideal L2 self and integrativeness (Pearson correlation—research question 1) and the relationship of the ideal L2 self to international posture and willingness to communicate (Pearson and Spearman correlation—research question 2). To analyze whether the ideal L2 self or integrativeness had the stronger predictive motivational power (research question 3), stepwise regression methods were used. As the study attempted to discover if the ideal L2 self inherently incorporated instrumentality (research question 4), factor analysis was chosen. For purposes of the MANOVA analysis (research question 5), individual items that had been used for just one of the two groups in order to maximize Cronbach's alpha were removed for all participants, so that the scale scores used to compare the heritage and nonheritage language learner groups were directly comparable. In other words, only the items included for both groups were involved in the across-group comparisons. The analytical software used was SPSS 21. Unless otherwise noted, a p value of< 0.05 was used as a threshold for statistical significance.

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

L2 Self and Integrativeness

The results of Pearson correlation analysis revealed that a significant relationship existed between the ideal L2 self and integrativeness for each group: The correlation between the ideal L2 self and integrativeness was 0.35 for nonheritage and 0.48 for heritage language learners (both significant at p < 0.01). The results indicated that the integrative motivation of Chinese heritage and nonheritage language learners is directed to the L2 specific self, a finding that is consistent with the results of the studies by Taguchi et al. (2009) and Ryan (2009). He's (2006) results also suggested that building the L2-specific self is an integral part of heritage language learners' self-identity development.

L2 Self, International Posture, and Willingness to Communicate

The study also investigated the relationship between the ideal L2 self and two other factors: international posture and willingness to communicate. Because the distribution of nonheritage language learners' international posture was not normal, a Spearman correlation was used while Pearson correlation was used to analyze the other variables. The resulting correlations are presented in Table 3. As shown in Table 3, all of the relationships were significant, supporting the idea that international posture and willingness to communicate co-construct the ideal L2 self (Yashima, 2009) of both heritage and nonheritage language learners and also demonstrating that perceptions of peers and instructors helped shape heritage language learners' self-identity (Weger-Guntharp, 2006).

Table 3. Correlation Coefficients of ILS With IP and WTC for Nonheritage and Heritage Language Learners
 IPWTC
  • **

    p < 0.01.

Nonheritage0.42** (Spearman)0.34** (Pearson)
Heritage0.51** (Pearson)0.42** (Pearson)

Impact of L2 Self and Integrativeness

To determine whether the ideal L2 self was a stronger motivational predictor than integrativeness, a statistical regression method was used. Due to the significant relationship between the ideal L2 self and integrativeness in the two samples, it was first necessary to detect collinearity. The tolerance (> 0.1) and VIP (< 2.5) value suggested that collinearity was not an issue with either sample (see Table 4). As shown in Table 4, the ideal L2 self was a significant predictor of motivation with nonheritage language learners (t[126] = 2.78, p < 0.05), but integrativeness was not (t[126] = 1.89, p > 0.05).

Table 4. Motivation-Predicting Power of ILS and Integrativeness With Nonheritage Language Learners
 βtpPartial r95% CICollinearity
loweruppertoleranceVIF
ILS0.252.780.010.240.070.410.881.14
ITGRTV0.171.890.060.16−0.010.350.881.14

As shown in Table 5, with heritage language learners, the ideal L2 self (t[82] = 2.24, p < 0.05) and integrativeness (t[82] = 2.31, p < 0.05) were both significant predictors of motivation, and the approximation of their r value suggests that they had equal power to predict heritage language learners' motivational strength.

Table 5. Motivation-Predicting Power of ILS and ITGRTV With Heritage Language Learners
 βtpPartial r95% CICollinearity
 loweruppertoleranceVIF
ILS0.262.240.030.240.020.360.771.30
ITGRTV0.272.310.020.250.030.440.771.30

The results lend support to the concept that the ideal L2 self is a significant motivation for nonheritage language learners (Al-shehri, 2009; Taguchi et al., 2009) and for these learners, integrativeness has little importance (Warden & Lin, 2000). The results also reflect the dual interests of heritage language learners—achieving language competence on the one hand and connecting with the Chinese community on the other, and they further support He's (2006) proposition that heritage learners of Chinese intend to build their connections with the Chinese community through achieving language proficiency.

L2 Self, Integrativeness, and Instrumentality

The data in Table 6 address the item-loading among L2 self, integrativeness, and instrumentality promotion. The ideal L2 self items indicated the degree to which students imagined using Chinese within the local Chinese community (7–9, 12) and in their future careers (10, 11). The ought-to L2 self items reflected the extent to which learning Chinese was due to others' expectation (13, 17), learners' intention to gain approval of (14) or avoid disappointing (15) others, their parents' belief about educated people (16), and learners' intention to be respected (18). Instrumentality-promotion items addressed the importance degree of learning Chinese in order to get a job (25), work globally (26), live in a Chinese-speaking area (27), complete a major (28), and achieve a special goal (29).

Table 6. Rotated Factor Matrix for Nonheritage and Heritage Language Learners
Nonheritage Learners
Factor1234
% of variance20.68%14.18%11.54%6.56%
Loaded itemsOLS 16ILS 9ILS 10ILS 7, 8, 10
 PRO 26, 27, 29PRO 28OLS 17, 18 
Heritage Learners
Factor123 
% of variance39.56%12.08%7.55% 
Loaded itemsILS 9–12ILS 8, 10ILS 7 
 OLS 13, 16–18OLS 13, 18OLS 14PRO 25–29

As shown in Table 6, all of the “promotion” items were loaded with ideal/ought-to L2 self for heritage language learners, as were 80% of the items for the nonheritage language learners. The results demonstrate that the weight of instrumentality-promotion is incorporated into the ideal and ought-to Chinese self without reference to heritage or nonheritage language learners, a finding that is compatible with the result of Kim's (2009) study. It is also noteworthy that the ideal and ought-to L2 self are equal loaders of instrumentality-promotion with heritage language learners.

Differences Between Heritage and Nonheritage Language Learners

A one-way MANOVA was used to explore differences between heritage and nonheritage language learners' means on the 11 variables, and a p of 0.004 was used to account for the presence of multiple comparisons (0.05 divided by 11 = 0.004). Items that were included only for the heritage or nonheritage language learner survey were excluded from this analysis so as to allow for accurate comparisons. The overall population means were different in the dependent variables across groups (p < 0.004), and Levene's test of equality of error variances assured that the error variance of the 11 variables was equal because all p values were larger than 0.004. Follow-up ANOVAs showed that the two groups of learners were significantly different on four of the variables (see Table 7).

Table 7. Results of Follow-Up Univariate ANOVAs
 Fdf1df2sig.Partial η2Observed power
ILS23.5212060.0000.1020.973
OLS27.0912060.0000.1160.989
FI23.7312060.0000.1030.974
IP12.7312060.0000.0580.743

These analyses show that the nonheritage and the heritage language learners were significantly different in the ideal L2 self and international posture, which supports the proposition that the experience of intergroup interactions has left these two groups of learners with different perceptions of self and the world (He, 2006). The results also show that the two groups of learners are significantly different in the ought-to L2 self and family influence, which suggests that the heritage language learners' L2 self is characterized by the attributes they perceive they should possess, and their family plays a crucial role in shaping such perception.

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

The L2 Motivational Self System

The study supported the effectiveness of the L2 motivational self system as a means of better understanding differences in motivation among heritage and nonheritage learners of Chinese as a foreign language, and possibly among similar groups of learners of other foreign languages as well. The results lend support to what Anya (2011) described as a “functional reinstatement” of the socioeducational model and also serve to “better explicate” integrativeness (p. 447). The study also demonstrated that the L2 motivational self system provides a meaningful framework for research that compares heritage and nonheritage language learners. The system captures family influence and the ought-to L2 self, two distinct factors shaping heritage learners' motivation, and thus facilitates a new agenda for comparison studies of heritage and nonheritage language learners. These differences can be used to investigate the impact of home environment on heritage and nonheritage learners' attitudes toward learning another language and explore their change in attitudes over time as their self-identity develops. In addition, the lower international posture of heritage language learners, when compared with that of nonheritage language learners, supports the idea that intergroup attitudes have an impact on heritage language learners' view of their place in the local community and larger world. More complicated than the linear experience of nonheritage learners, the experience of heritage learners may be dominated early by belongingness struggles and later by ethnicity celebration. Belongingness struggles, caused by the concurrence of self-identity rejection and nonmembership in the dominant community (Tse, 1998), last a variable number of years depending on the individual learner and are resolved only when the heritage learners achieve confidence in self-image and celebrate their ethnic identity.

Implications for Instructors

Home Background

The L2 motivational self system may help instructors better understand a heritage language learner's international posture and support the learner's ethnic emergence in several ways.

As the ideal and ought-to L2 self of heritage language learners equally reflect instrumentality and promotion, it appears that college-level heritage language learners come to appreciate their identity so that learning a heritage language is no longer being forced upon them by their parents but becomes an active investment in career opportunities and identity development (He, 2006; Wen, 2011; Wong & Xiao, 2010). Whether or not this investment pays off largely depends on the learning experience. Instructors must enhance their awareness of heritage language learners' identity investment and build a welcoming environment in which students' dialects are equally appreciated, particularly given that dialect-marked linguistic repertoire has value in its own right (Dai & Zhang, 2008; Li, 2010) and the tension between standard and nonstandard dialects degrades learners' enjoyment of learning (Wong & Xiao, 2010). It is suggested that instructors apply appropriate expectations (Krashen, 1998) and dialect-valuing assessments that legitimize nonstandard accents/expressions and value home background, thus promoting the investment that learners make in their heritage language.

Culture

Culture holds great appeal for both heritage and nonheritage learners (ACTFL, 2009). While heritage language learners embrace culture in order to connect, or reconnect, with their ethnic community, the higher international posture of nonheritage language learners in the present study suggests that their openness to foreign cultures and communities influences their choice of language and their motivation to study the language. Foreign language educators must nurture the cultural interests of young learners and maintain and develop this aspect of the self by emphasizing specific cultural proficiency. Dörnyei (2005) argued that a realizable ideal L2 self is vivid and concrete. Therefore, using tangible cultural products as well as engaging students in age-appropriate cultural practices and hands-on activities help students develop an ideal L2 self. In addition, all lessons must be grounded in cultural contexts and address cultural products, practices, and perspectives. Furthermore, although authentic cultural texts can be linguistically challenging, the cultural richness of their content cannot be duplicated in instructor-created materials; the use of level-appropriate tasks can make them more accessible to even beginning-level learners (Shrum & Glisan, 2010). Finally, it is critical that instructors teach learners to make cultural comparisons and to recognize and reflect on cultural similarities and differences, including differences between standard and nonstandard dialects.

Community Connection

The interrelationship among the ideal L2 self, international posture, and willingness to communicate supports the need for instructors to help learners envision an ideal L2 self, because learners who can envision an ideal L2 self based on the real world are likely to become active communicators. Community connections can help educators overcome the reported challenge of providing students with real-life-based opportunities for language use (Moore, Walton, & Lambert, 1992). Activities such as requiring students to teach practical expressions to schoolmates/friends and family members, regularly spend time with native speaker tutors, and participate in clubs and activities that are frequented by native speakers offer easy ways for learners to become part of Chinese-speaking communities. Furthermore, students can be encouraged, or even required, to attend target community social events, e.g., festival celebrations and thematic cultural activities, and establish personal contacts with local native speakers. The barriers that were once imposed by geographical distance can be overcome by using online tools such as Skype, Google chat, synchronous and asynchronous video, and e-mail partners.

Career Connection

As instrumentality-promotion was incorporated into the ideal L2 self, the ideal L2 self appears to be associated with opportunities that can be made available only by having knowledge of another language. The ideal L2 self should be “not only personally agreeable but also professionally successful” (Dörnyei, 2010, p.79). Publicizing employment opportunities that require foreign language proficiency and the ability to work in an increasingly global world as well as sharing accounts of graduates who have successfully obtained employment thanks to their knowledge of a language other than English are also effective strategies. Learning a foreign language is a critical part of preparing learners to be citizens of the world, particularly for heritage language learners. The instructor's role in shaping a realizable but ideal L2 self is compatible with this mission.

Curriculum

The results of the study strongly recommend the integration of the Community goal of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning into curriculum—this goal was reported to receive the least emphasis among the five Cs (ACTFL, 2011). Requiring students to become engaged in the community helps them envision and maintain a vivid, real-life-based, and realizable ideal L2 self. Addressing the Community goal also may be carried out through offering immersion classrooms, supplementing the textbook by a rich assortment of high-interest and authentic materials, and facilitating cross-cultural comparisons. These methods can improve students' willingness to communicate as well as their tolerance of differences and hence international posture, eventually reinforce the ideal L2 self, and bring learning motivation into a virtuous circle.

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

Through validating the L2 motivational self system in a Chinese as a foreign language setting, this study demonstrated that the L2 motivational self system can allow researchers and instructors to better understand the differences and similarities between heritage and nonheritage language learners and to more effectively address their particular learning needs. The data suggest that it will be important for instructors to help learners build an L2 self through regular personal experiences with target culture, and connection with local and abroad community through technology and contact abroad as well as by familiarizing learners with future career opportunities and, for heritage learners, by reinforcing the value of the home language and cultural background.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography

I am thankful for the seven Chinese instructors who allowed me to do the surveys with their students. I am grateful to Tess Stockslager and Dennis Jennings for reading the previous drafts of this article. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the five anonymous reviewers and the editor Dr. Nerenz for their insightful suggestions to improve this article. All remaining errors are my own.

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  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography
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APPENDIX

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography
A Survey on L2 Motivational Self System With Chinese Language Learners in the United States

The following questions are a motivational survey on Chinese language learners. It includes two sections. There are no “wrong” or “right” answers. The purpose is for the researcher to understand the constructs of learning the motivation of Chinese language learners in the United States. It is anonymous, confidential, and voluntary. Please answer as accurately as you can. Your contribution is highly appreciated. Thanks!

I. General information

Please fill in each blank because an unfilled blank will make your data unusable.

Major: _________ Gender: _________ Age: _________
Level of your course: ______ (beginning, intermediate, or advanced)
Your mother's ethnicity: Chinese_______ Yes_______ No
Your father's ethnicity: Chinese_______ Yes_______ No
Your father speaks a Chinese dialect at home_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
At other places_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
Your mother speaks a Chinese dialect at home_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
At other places_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
Do you understand any Chinese dialect(s)?_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
Do you speak the dialect(s) at home_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 
At other places_______ Yes.Please specify: _______
 _______ No 

II. Please read the following statements/questions carefully and check the number most applicable to you. 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = slightly disagree, 4 = slightly agree, 5 = agree, 6 = strongly agree. Thanks again.

Criterion Measures

  1. (H) If a Chinese course was offered in the future, I would like to take it.
  2. I am working hard at learning Chinese.
  3. I am prepared to expend a lot of effort in learning Chinese.
  4. I think that I am doing my best to learn Chinese.
  5. Compared to my classmates, I think I study Chinese relatively hard.
  6. (H) If my teacher would give the class an optional assignment, I would certainly volunteer to do it.

    Ideal L2 Self

  7. I imagine myself as someone who is able to speak Chinese.
  8. I can imagine myself living in Chinese-speaking areas and using Chinese effectively for communicating with the locals.
  9. I can imagine a situation where I am speaking Chinese with native Chinese speakers.
  10. Whenever I think of my future career, I imagine myself using Chinese.
  11. The things I want to do in the future require me to use Chinese.
  12. I can imagine myself writing Chinese e-mails fluently.

    Ought-to L2 Self

  13. (H) Learning Chinese is necessary because people surrounding me expect me to do so.
  14. Studying Chinese is important to me in order to gain the approval of my peers/teachers/family/boss.
  15. (H) I have to study Chinese, because if I do not study it, I think my parents will be disappointed with me.
  16. My parents believe that I must study Chinese to be an educated person.
  17. I consider learning Chinese important because the people I respect think that I should do it.
  18. Studying Chinese is important to me because other people will respect me more if I have a knowledge of Chinese.

    Family Influence

  19. My parents encourage me to study Chinese.
  20. My parents encourage me to take every opportunity to use Chinese (i.e., speaking and reading).
  21. My parents encourage me to practice my Chinese as much as possible.
  22. My parents/family believe that I must study Chinese to be an educated person.
  23. (H) Studying Chinese is important to me in order to bring honors to my family.

    Instrumentality (promotion)

  24. Studying Chinese can be important to me because I think it will be useful someday in getting a job.
  25. Studying Chinese is important to me because with Chinese I can work globally.
  26. Studying Chinese is important to me because I would like to spend a period living in Chinese-speaking areas.
  27. Studying Chinese can be important for me because I think I will need it for further studies on my major.
  28. Studying Chinese is important to me in order to achieve a special goal.

    Instrumentality (prevention)

  29. Knowing no Chinese can negatively influence my study of my chosen major.
  30. Knowing no Chinese can negatively influence my career.
  31. I would feel ashamed if I got bad grades in Chinese.
  32. My relationship to some people surrounding me can be negatively influenced if I have no knowledge of Chinese.

    Attitudes Toward Learning Chinese

  33. I like the atmosphere of my Chinese classes.
  34. I find learning Chinese really interesting.
  35. I always look forward to Chinese classes.
  36. I really enjoy learning Chinese.
  37. I think time passes faster while studying Chinese.

    Cultural Interest

  38. (H) I like the music of Chinese-speaking countries.
  39. I like Chinese films.
  40. I like Chinese magazines, newspapers, and/or books.
  41. I like television programs made in Chinese-speaking countries.
  42. I want to learn more about Chinese culture and art.

    Integrativeness

  43. I like to travel to Chinese-speaking countries.
  44. I like meeting people from Chinese-speaking countries.
  45. I like to know more about people from Chinese-speaking countries.
  46. I want to become similar to people who speak Chinese.

    International Posture

  47. I want to make friends with international students studying in the United States.
  48. I would feel somewhat uncomfortable if a foreigner moved in next door.
  49. I want to participate in a volunteer activity to help foreigners living in the surrounding community.
  50. I am interested in an international career.
  51. I often read and watch news about foreign countries.
  52. I have thoughts that I want to share with people from other parts of the world.

    Willingness to Communicate

  53. I choose to speak Chinese when I am given a chance to talk freely in a Chinese class.
  54. I volunteer to respond to or ask questions in Chinese class.
  55. I like to speak Chinese with international students who speak Chinese at school.
  56. (N) I like to speak Chinese with friends or acquaintances outside school.
  57. I try to talk when I have a chance to speak Chinese in Chinese classes.

Note: Items marked “H” are only used for heritage language learners and with “N” only used for nonheritage language learners.

Biography

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Review of Literature
  5. Methodology
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. References
  11. APPENDIX
  12. Biography
  • Yan Xie (EdD, Liberty University) is Assistant Professor of Chinese at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.