Motivation in second language learning: Ethnolinguistic vitality or psychological construct that counts?

Year: 2002

Author: Kam, Michael Chi-keung

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The present paper tries to identify the societal factors and psychological factors that motivate students to have better performance in English as a second language and to postulate a theoretical model subsuming these socio-psychological variables to explain and predict the performance in English as a second language for Hong Kong students in Australia. Since the proposal of Socio-educational model of second language learning by Gardner in 1959, there are number of studies focused on identifying the potent factors in second language acquisition Giles and Byrne (1982) emphasized the need to have variables intended to determine the perceived relationships operating between ethnic groups. Kraemer (1993) included ethnolinguistic vitality perception construct in her study on social psychological factors in the learning of Arabic in Israeli schools. 247 students of ethnic Chinese in Sydney metropolitan area who were studying in weekend Chinese schools and 628 Hong Kong students who were studying in primary and secondary schools were sampled. Path analysis was used to determine the relationship between the performance of Chinese and English with societal and psychological variables. The study focuses on the relative contribution of societal variables and psychological variables to the language performance of students.