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Keywords:

  • French;
  • activity theory;
  • learning motivation;
  • second language learning;
  • self-regulation;
  • study abroad

Abstract: This study investigated the development of language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad (SA) for six intermediate-level students of French. Taking an activity theory perspective, findings demonstrated that one of two orientations motivated participants to study or continue studying French at the college level: linguistic motives or career-oriented motives. The choice to study abroad was seen as either a critical step to achieving fluency or a means of travel and cultural learning. Enhanced language-learning motivation emerged to varying degrees for participants with linguistically oriented motives for learning French who viewed SA as a language-learning experience but not for participants with primarily pragmatic reasons for learning French and participating in SA. Implications of the study include the need for curricular intervention in student learning abroad.