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Keywords:

  • black L2 learners;
  • identity;
  • investment;
  • motivation;
  • second language acquisition

Abstract

Utilizing data from the language learning autobiographies of six black college students, this pilot study investigates the experiences and motivations of blacks who do and do not achieve advanced-level second language acquisition (SLA). It hypothesizes that successful black second language (L2) learners (1) have positive formative experiences of investment in a community of learners; (2) desire to connect with members of a community of L2 speakers who mirror their past, present, and future/ideal selves; and (3) are motivated to excel in SLA by their integrative need to connect with both communities of learners and speakers. Findings support the study's hypotheses; however, they also call for further investigation of the nature/variety of black student L2 classroom experiences, the role of ethno-racial affinity in integrativeness, and perspectives of black heritage language learners.