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The Role of Motivation in Second Language Acquisition

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Abstract

This paper aims to explore the role of motivation in second language acquisition. Motivation is one of the most important factors for learning a second language proficiently. Motivation is unavoidable linked with language achievement in the sense that language achievement can not happen without motivation. In short, motivation is used as a concept for explaining the success or failure of a language learner. There are many advantages for knowing other languages but they are not absolutely necessary, and as a consequence, motivation can play an important role in learning second language. And there are many factors that can affect this motivation.
THE ROLE OF MOTIVATION IN SECOND LANGUAGE
ACQUISITION
Rafika Nurhidayah
English Study Program, Sekolah Tinggi Bahasa Asing Pontianak
rafikanurhidayah40@gmail.com
Abstract- This paper aims to explore the role of motivation in second language acquisition.
Motivation is one of the most important factors for learning a second language proficiently.
Motivation is unavoidable linked with language achievement in the sense that it cannot happen
without motivation. In short, motivation is used as a concept for explaining the success or failure
of a language learner. There are many advantages for knowing other languages but they are not
absolutely necessary, and as a consequence, motivation can play an important role in learning
second language. And there are many factors that can affect this motivation.
Keywords: Motivation, second language acquisition
INTRODUCTION
Motivation is a kind of desire for learning. To teach a second language in a
learning setting, the learners should have a desire to learn the language first. There are a
numbers of factors that influence second language learning. According to Dornyei (as
cited in Kaboody, 2013) stated that motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate
learning the second language and later the driving force to sustain the long and often
tedious learning process. Moreover, all the other factors involved in second language (L2)
acquisition suppose motivation to some level. By giving sufficient motivation, it is hope
that even individuals with minimal abilities can achieve long-term goals and a suitable
curriculum along with good teaching will be sufficient to ensure student achievement. In
addition, high motivation can cover up for significant deficiencies in both language skills
and learning conditions. This is also supported by Gass and Selinker (2008) stated that a
learner who is vigilant about instituting many encounters to gain comprehensible input is
more likely to be successful in second language learning environments. A learner who
expends the effort for memorization (even if unconsciously) is more likely to succeed in
either foreign or second language environments.
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Second
Language
Acquisition
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SPECTRAL
Jurnal Ilmiah STBA
Vol.6 No.2
Juni 2020
ISSN 0216-3381
Motivation plays a significant role in the rate and success of second and foreign
language learning in general and in classroom language learning in particular (Kaboody,
2013). Apart from the role that intellectual capacity and language aptitude play in a
second or foreign language learning, motivation is a major factor in the successful study
of language acquisition. It is considered goal directed and defined as the combination of
effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favorable attitudes
toward learning the language (Xu as cited in Anjomshoa and Sadighi, 2015).
Furthermore, Gardner (as cited in Ghamdi, 2014) views motivation as an abstract and
complex concept that is used to describe human behaviour. With a large number of
definitions, it continues to highlight how complex motivation is, especially as a factor
variable for L2 learners due to the dependence on different situations and conditions. For
example, some students in L2 are less motivated to communicate with the target language
community, whereas the opposite is proper for other students.
This is a conceptual-based paper and presented to answer the basic questions
regarding the explanation of motivation such as the definition, models of motivation and
types of motivation which considered affect the second language achievement.
DISCUSSION
1. Definition of Motivation
Motivation is considered as a major part of achieving any goal. This is an
important factor that has a positive influence in every educational learning process
especially in second language learning. Salvin (as cited in Rehman et all., 2014) defined
motivation as an internal process that activates, guides and maintains behavior over time.
Motivation is not static, it changes depending on the context and it changes over time
(Gass and Selinker, 2008). Reece & Walker (as cited in Gomleksiz, 2001), express that
motivation is a key factor in the second language learning process. They emphasized that
underprivileged students who are highly motivated can achieve greater success than
smarter students who are not well motivated. Sometimes students come with high
motivation and the teacher's job is to maintain and maximize students’ motivation.
Ellis (as cited in Mahadi and Jafari, 2012) considers motivation as the attempt
which learners make for learning a second language because of their need or desire to
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learn it. Gardner (as cited in Zareian and Jodaei, 2015) considers effort and desire as the
prerequisites to call an individual a motivated person. He proposes that in order to
understand why learners are motivated, it is important to understand what the learner
wants to achieve or the goals to learn a language. Within current L2 motivation research,
the tendency is to define motivation, as a cumulative force of motives that is on a
continuum from zero to strong (Dornyei, 2005). Meanwhile, Liuoliene and Metiuniene
(2006) stated that motivation is described as goal-directed; the learners’ immediate goal
is to learn the language.
2. Models of Motivation
2.1 Gardner’s Model
According to Root (1999), Gardner was one of the pioneering researcher in
second language acquisition (SLA) to focus on motivation. He chose to define motivation
by specifying four aspects of motivation such as, a goal, effortful behavior to reach the
goal, a desire to attain the goal and positive attitudes toward the goal. Goals are stimuli
that give rise to motivation. A goal, nevertheless, is not necessarily a measurable
component of motivation. Gardner focused on classifying reasons for second language
studies, which he later identified as orientation. He found two main orientations through
his research which are integrative and instrumental. In applying this research model,
attention is sometimes directed at an individual scale, for example attitudes towards
learning situations, intensity of motivation, etc. and sometimes the focus is on a mix of
components, eg scores on integrativeness, attitude. for learning situations, and / or
motivation to obtain a total score of integrative motivation (Zareian and Jodaei, 2015).
2.2 Dornyei’s Model
According to Root (1999) stated that contrary to Gardner’s focus on
integrativeness, Dornyei asserted that in a foreign language setting instrumental
orientation would have a greater influence on language learners. Dornyei’s (as cited in
Bankier, 2012) divides and inspects the learning process in three stages. The first stage to
generate initial motivation. This involves how to get students excited about what they are
going to learn. The second stage is maintaining and protecting motivation. The
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motivation, generated in the first place, must be sustained or it will fail to get out and the
goal will not be achieved. The third stage is positive self-reflection. As students complete
several assignments on the way to their goal, they should ponder positively about their
experiences and themselves. This way, they would most likely continue without giving
up.
3. Types of Motivation
According to Bernard (2010), several theories and categorizations contribute to
an understanding of academic motivation generally and second-language motivation
specifically. These include the theory of integrative motivation introduced during the
social-psychological period, as well as self-determination theory, its extensions, and the
general categorizations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation developed during the
cognitive-situated period.
3.1 Instrumental and Integrative Model
Second language learners are interested in learning native speakers of the
language and understanding the main purpose of how to live in the target language. The
motivation of the learners determines how ready and eager they are to get more
information and to increase their ability to understand, write, and speak the second
language (Engin, 2009). In the field of language learning, a typical model is the division
between integrative and instrumental motivation. (Gardner & Lambert as cited in Chalak
and Kassaian, 2010). If a person learns a language primarily for a purpose like getting a
job or fulfilling an academic requirement, she or he is affected by instrumental
motivation. In other words, instrumental motivation refers to the motivation to acquire
language as a means to an end such as promoting a career or job or reading technical texts
whereas integrative motivation is concerned with the desire to be accepted by other
communities. This statement is also supported by Loewen and Reinders (as cited in
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Ghamdi, 2014) explained that instrumental motivation refers to a need of fulfilment
towards some objective or the motivation which derives from the perception of the
tangible benefits that might result from learning a second language. Instrumental
motivation includes a group of factors that associate with motivation arising from external
goals, such as passing exams, financial rewards, good position or to accomplish a school
requirement (Williams and Burden, 1997).
Integrative motivation has frequently been cited and considered strongly related
to second language learning achievement (Hedge; Lightbown and Spada; Lins; Loewen
and Reinders as cited in Ghamdi, 2014). According to Zareian and Jodaei (2015) defines
integrative motivation as the main focus of many motivational researches in SLA. This
indicates the increasing attention to the concept of integrative motivation. Integrative
motivation occurs when learners tries to or has a desire to integrate themselves with the
culture of the second language group. It characterizes the students who study an second
language because of their interest in the values and cultural issues of the target
community. Integrative motivated learners want to learn the target language thus they can
preferable understand and get to know the people who speak the language and mess up
in their culture. Integrative motivation refers to an openness to identify at least in part
with another language community (Gardner and Masgoret as cited in Rehman et all.,
2014).
Dornyei (2005) stated that integrative motivation in a broad term, concerns a
positive interpersonal or affective disposition toward the second language group and the
desire to interact with and even become similar to valued members of that community.
This implies directness and respect for other cultural societies, their values, identities and
way of life. Dornyei’s motivational model was categorized into language level, learner
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level, and learning situation level. The language level refers to aspects of the L2, including
the culture, community, and the values and benefits associated with it. The individual
extent consists of the learner's characteristics that language learners present to the
classroom. However, the learning situation involves various factors including the
classroom environment, teacher, learning context, teaching methods, classmates, and
teacher personality (Kaboody, 2013). Meanwhile, Horwitz (as cited in Engin, 2009)
stated that integrative motivation begins with a personal effort and continues on with a
desire to know the target language’s native speakers. The purpose of student learning and
activities is to learn something new.
3.2 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Model
There is also another concept in the field of motivation introduced by Ryan &
Deci (as cited in Mahadi and Jafari, 2012) as Self-Determination Theory. They said that
Self-Determination Theory categorizes and tells apart diverse types of motivation in
accordance with the different rationales, causes, or targets which strengthen a deed or an
achievement. In line with this theory, the most basic difference is between intrinsic
motivation and extrinsic motivation. According to Bernard (2010) stated that intrinsic
motivation is then broken into three separate parts: intrinsic motivation for knowledge
(doing the activity for the intrinsic pleasure of exploring ideas and knowing new things),
for accomplishment (the pleasure related with mastering a task or achieving a goal), and
for stimulation (feelings such as pleasure and excitement). This is also supported by Noels
et.al. (2000) stated that intrinsic motivation as a sub-scale of the self-determination
theory, is of three kinds: a) intrinsic motivation knowledge (i.e. the pleasure of knowing
new things), intrinsic motivation accomplishment (the pleasure of accomplishing goals),
and intrinsic motivation stimulation (the pleasure in doing the task).
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Differ from the intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation lies along a continuum
from non-self-determination to self-determination. In other words, Motivation in self-
determination theory is classified into three categories on a continuum, from
unwillingness, to passive compliance, to active personal commitment (Zareian and
Jodaei, 2015). Extrinsic motivation refers to pressure or rewards from the social
environment for language learning. Extrinsically motivated students aim to gain better
career opportunities, teacher praise or recognition or even to prove that someone is a good
learner.
Even so, the characteristic of external motivation is that it implies some kind of
external pressure which once removed can result in language learners leaving L2 learning
(Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 2001). On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is motivation
to do a work or an activity as a means or way to achieve a target. Those who are
extrinsically motivated undertake and commit adultery because they think their
contribution will lead to enviable outcomes such as respect, teacher admiration, or
avoidance (prevention) of punishment (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996).
CONCLUSION
The success in second language acquisition depends on many factors. Motivation is one
of the factor among the most important ones. This paper concentrated on two main motivational
orientations of language learners. First, Gardner’s framework was the beginning of language
research in that area. Second, Dornyei specifically devised a model of motivation for a foreign
language setting. Those framework called integrative and instrumental motivation. Furthermore,
this paper also presents about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation that can help the students to be
aware of the importance of acquiring a foreign language. This awareness can creates a desire for
the learners to learn one or more foreign languages.
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SUGGESTION
As has been shown in this study, motivation plays an important role as the factor
in achieving L2. It cannot be denied that motivation is the basic thing in the successful
mastery of a second language. To specify the results, more studies are necessary to be
conducted. Apart from that, this study can be more useful if it is done with a large number
of English for Foreign Language (EFL) students as the participants to explore their
motivation better.
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The Importance of Motivation in Second Language Acquisition
  • L Ajomshoa
  • F Sadighi
Ajomshoa, L. and Sadighi, F. (2015). The Importance of Motivation in Second Language Acquisition. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL), 3(2), 126-137.
Applying Dörnyei's motivational strategies
  • J Bankier
  • A Wright
Bankier, J., & Wright, A. (2012). Applying Dörnyei's motivational strategies. In A. Stewart & N. Sonda (Eds.), JALT2011 Conference Proceedings. Tokyo: JALT.
Motivation in Foreign Language Learning: The Relationship between Classroom Activities, Motivation, and Outcomes in a
  • J Bernard
Bernard, J. (2010). Motivation in Foreign Language Learning: The Relationship between Classroom Activities, Motivation, and Outcomes in a University Language-Learning Environment. Carnegie Mellon University.