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Researching Language Learning Motivation: A Concise Guide



This book deals with one of the most crucial concepts in second language learning: motivation. In recognition of the fact that motivation plays a pivotal role in understanding the processes of second language acquisition, there has been a rapid expansion of research, journal articles, books, and conference presentations attempting to better understand what motivation is and how to best apply its principles to the classroom (Al-Hoorie, 2017, 2018; Boo, Dörnyei, & Ryan, 2015). This rapid expansion has come at a cost, however. It has become increasingly challenging to keep up with all the latest findings and developments in this burgeoning field. Even edited volumes, which are typically intended to provide a less technical account than journal articles, are growing in number by the day. At the time of writing this Introduction, two major edited volumes on motivation have just appeared (Al-Hoorie & MacIntyre, 2020; Lamb, Csizér, Henry, & Ryan, 2019) and two others are in the works (Hiver, Al-Hoorie, & Mercer, 2021; Li, Hiver, & Papi, 2021). Some readers, especially newcomers to the field, would probably find these rapid developments overwhelming. This book attempts to address this situation by providing accessible, “bite-size” chapters that are less formidable to read and that address key research directions.
Cover design by Rebecca Heselton
Cover image © Andrii Zastrozhnov/ shutterstock
Also available from
Bloomsbury Academic
Oering conci se, bite-size overviews of ke y
contemporar y research concepts a nd
directions , this book provides an inva luable
guide to the contempora ry state of the eld.
Each chapter is w ritten by a leading exp ert
and reects on c utting-edge resea rch issues.
From well-establ ished concepts, such as
engagement and lea rning goals , to emerging
ideas, including contag ion and
plurili ngualism , this book provides easy to
understand over views and analysi s of key
contemporary themes . Helping readers
understand a eld w hich can appear hig hly
technica l and overwhelming , Researching
Language Lear ning Motivation provides
valuable insights, perspectives and practical
Al-Hoorie and Sz abó have assembled a modern-day
dream-team of resea rchers on langu age lear ning
motivation o m around the world. e boo k will
capture the hearts a nd minds of y oung sc holar s,
and will inf luence them in conducting robust,
innoativ e work on language learning motivation.’
Paula W inke, Profes sor of Lingu istics,
Mich igan State Unive rsity, USA
‘Includes con tributions om lea ding and emerging
exper ts in L2 motivation research. It aptly de scribes
the central role of L2 m otivation in the vibrant eld
of Psycholog y of Language Lear ning, and it o ers an
inspiri ng forward looking persp ective, matching the
momentum o f contemporary L2 motivati on research.’
Juup Stelm a, Senior Lect urer in TES OL,
Universit y of Manchester, U K
‘Takes a reeshi ngly varied look into all co rners of
research on L2 motivat ion. In doing so, the olum e
editors man age to weave together a tapestr y of ideas
that is coherent yet the oretically and conceptu ally
rich, posing an im plied challenge to anyone who
might underest imate the dynamicit y of this domain.’
Luke Plonsk y, Associate Prof essor of Applied
Ling uistic s, Norther n Arizona Un iversity, USA
‘is e xcellent book reviews resea rch on motivation…
but it does so mu ch more! It departs om the custo mary
treatmen t of motivation to break new g round, initin g
us to think anew.’
Diane L arsen-Freeman, Prof essor Emerita ,
School of Edu cation and Depa rtment of
Ling uistics , Univers ity of Michi gan, USA
ALI H. ALHOORIE teaches at the Jubail
Engli sh Language a nd Preparatory Year
Institute, R oyal Commission for Jubai l and
Yanbu, Saudi Arabia .
FRUZSINA SZABÓ is Lectu rer in the
Institute of Eng lish and America n Studies
at the University of Debrecen, Hu ngary.
Contributors : Ahmed A l Khateeb, Vera Bu sse, Jean-
Marc Dewa ele, Joseph Fa lout, Yoshifum i Fukada ,
Tetsuya Fukud a, Ofelia G arcía, Flor-de-l is Gonzále z-
Mujico, Tammy Grege rsen, Ala stair Henr y, Phil Hiver,
Emiko H irosawa, Jim K ing, Ma rtin La mb, W. L. uint
Oga-Ba ldwin, Kat e Maher, Sara h Mercer, Christi ne
Muir, Tim Mur phey, Robert Mur phy, Lourdes Orte ga,
Rebecc a L. Oxford , Mostafa Papi , Matthew E . Poehner,
Amy S. omp son, and Ema Ushi oda.
Language Learning
A Concise Guide
Edited by
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
& Fruzsina Szabó
With a Foreword
by Rebecca L. Oxford
Edited by
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
& Fruzsina Szabó
Researching Language Learning Motivation
ISBN 978-1-350-16687-5
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9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 1 30-08-2021 13:20:22
Also available from Bloomsbury
Language Learning Strategies and Individual Learner Motivation, edited by
Rebecca L. Oxford and Carmen Amerstorfer
Key Terms in Second Language Acquisition, Bill VanPatten
Reecting on Critical Incidents in Language Education: 40 Dilemmas For
Second Language Acquisition: A Theoretical Introduction To Real World
Applications, Alessandro G. Benati and Tanja Angelovska
Second Language Acquisition in Action: Principles from Practice, Andrea Nava
and Luciana Pedrazzini
Study Abroad and the Second Language Learner: Expectations, Experiences
and Development, edited by Martin Howard
Task-Based Language Learning in a Real-World Digital Environment: The
European Digital Kitchen, edited by Paul Seedhouse
Teaching English-Medium Instruction Courses in Higher Education: A Guide
for Non-Native Speakers, Ruth Breeze and Carmen Sancho Guinda
Teaching Listening and Speaking in Second and Foreign Language Contexts,
Kathleen M. Bailey
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 2 30-08-2021 13:20:22
A Concise Guide
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 3 30-08-2021 13:20:22
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are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
First published in Great Britain 2022
Copyright © Ali H. Al-Hoorie, Fruzsina Szabó and Bloomsbury, 2022
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9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 4 30-08-2021 13:20:22
This book is dedicated to Zoltán Dörnyei
for his 60th birthday (belatedly)
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9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 6 30-08-2021 13:20:22
List of Figures x
List of Tables xii
The Editors xiv
Contributors xv
Foreword by Rebecca Oxford xix
Introduction Ali H. Al-Hoorie and Fruzsina Szabó 1
PART I General Reflections 5
1 Motivating in the Language Classroom: A Discourse of
“Social Control”? Ema Ushioda 7
2 Motivation, Mediation, and the Individual: A Sociocultural
Theory Perspective Matthew E. Poehner 17
3 Too Much Psychology? The Role of the Social in
Language Learning Motivation Ofelia García 27
PART TWO Language Engagement 37
4 Engagement: The Active Ingredient in Language
Learning Sarah Mercer 39
5 Engaging the Learner: Linking Teaching Practice to
Learners’ Engagement and Development Phil Hiver 51
6 Goal Self-Concordance and Motivational
Sustainability Alastair Henry 61
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7 Self-Determined Motivation and Engagement in Language:
A Dialogic Process W. L. Quint Oga-Baldwin and
Emiko Hirosawa 71
PART THREE Selves Approaches 81
8 Using the Self as a Basis for a Motivation System: Is It
Worth the Trouble? Peter D. MacIntyre 83
9 The L2 Motivational Self System: Using the Selves in the
Classroom Mostafa Papi 91
10 Language Learning in Rural America: Creating an Ideal
Self with Limited Resources Amy S. Thompson 99
11 Using Technology to Harness the Power of L2 Selves
Flordelis González-Mujico 111
PART FOUR Emotions and Aect 123
12 Research on Emotions in Second Language Acquisition:
Reections on Its Birth and Unexpected Growth
Jean-Marc Dewaele 125
13 Enhancing Emotional Engagement in Speaking Tasks:
A Cognitive-Behavioral Theory Approach Kate Maher
and Jim King 135
14 Motivation Contagion: The Reciprocal Inuence of
Language Teachers and Learners Tammy Gregersen and
Ahmed Al Khateeb 153
15 Group DMCs and Group Emotion in the L2 Classroom
Christine Muir 165
PART FIVE Emerging Topics 173
16 Complexity Theory: From Metaphors to Methodological
Advances Ali H. Al-Hoorie and Phil Hiver 175
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17 “OH, HI. HELLO”: Desire for English in the Semiotics
of an Indonesian Product Leaet Martin Lamb 185
18 Migration, Plurilingualism, and Motivation: Extending
the Research Agenda Vera Busse 197
19 English as a Lingua Franca and Second Language
Motivation Zana Ibrahim 203
20 Using neuroELT Maxims to Raise Student Motivation in
the EFL Classroom Robert S. Murphy 213
21 How Good Class Group Dynamics Socialize Well-Being
into Cultures, Biologies, and Brains Yoshifumi Fukada,
Tim Murphey, Tetsuya Fukuda, and Joseph Falout 225
Afterword by Lourdes Ortega 235
Notes 240
References 241
Index 279
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4.1 Tripartite model of learner engagement 46
10.1 A trip to Paris in 2007—Notre Dame and the Seine
River 100
10.2 Our front eld, Spring 2020, Reedsville, WV
(current population, 608) 102
13.1 CBT model of not initiating talk due to speaking-
related anxiety (Maher, 2020) 137
13.2 A cognitive-behavioral model of a silent L2 learner’s
social anxiety (King & Smith, 2017, adapted from
King, 2014) 140
13.3 Cognitive-behavioral model of Mari’s silence and
anxiety in the foreign language classroom based on
King (2014) and (Maher, 2020) 145
13.4 Thought diary 148
13.5 Balanced thoughts 149
13.6 Planning for positive engagement 151
13.7 Engagement diary 152
16.1 Overlap between two independent variables (A)
versus no overlap (B) 178
16.2 Comparison of the regression coefcients when the
independent variables are correlated at .00 versus
at .27 179
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16.3 Comparison of standardized structural coefcients at
three levels of reliability: .95/.80/.65 180
17.1 Copy of the leaet (grayscale version) 196
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10.1 Comparison of student experiences with
resistance to language learning in two contexts 105
11.1 Current literature on L2 selves using TELL 120
13.1 Examples of feared predictions 141
13.2 Haruna’s self-focus image thoughts 144
14.1 Demographic and class information of sample
population 156
14.2 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor A and the average of his
learners 157
14.3 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor B and the average of his
learners 158
14.4 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor C and the average of his
learners 158
14.5 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor D and the average of his
learners 159
14.6 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor E and the average of his
learners 160
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14.7 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor F and the average of his
learners 161
14.8 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor G and the average of her
learners 161
14.9 Beginning and ending of self-reported level of
motivation by Professor H and the average of her
learners 162
16.1 Simulated correlations among three variables
(N = 300) 178
16.2 Reliability levels and number of distinct subgroups 183
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 13 30-08-2021 13:20:23
Ali H. Al-Hoorie works at the Jubail English Language and Preparatory
Year Institute, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. He
completed his PhD in applied linguistics at the University of Nottingham, UK,
under the supervision of Professors Zoltán Dörnyei and Norbert Schmitt.
His research interests include motivation theory, research methodology, and
complexity. His publications have appeared in various journals, including
Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, Studies in Second Language
Acquisition, ELT Journal, Language Teaching Research, and Learning
and Individual Differences. His books include, with Phil Hiver, Research
Methods for Complexity in Applied Linguistics (2020) and, co-edited with
Peter McIntyre, Contemporary Language Motivation Theory: 60 Years
Since Gardner and Lambert (1959) (2020). The latter book is the winner of
The Jake Harwood Outstanding Book Award.
Fruzsina Szabó is Lecturer at the Institute of English and American
Studies at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, where she also completed
her PhD. She teaches methodology, SLA courses, and is involved in
teacher training. Her research interest includes classroom implications
of motivation, language aptitude, translanguaging in low socioeconomic
environment, teacher identity, and teacher well-being. She was a member
of the Hungarian National Academy MTA-DE Research Group on Foreign
Language Teaching that developed digital course material for pupils from
disadvantaged backgrounds (2016–2021). She is the author of various
Hungarian and English articles, and co-editor of Innovatív Oktatás, a book
on innovative education in Hungary.
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 14 30-08-2021 13:20:23
Ahmed Al Khateeb is Associate Professor and Chair of English Language
Department, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. He is a PhD holder in applied
linguistics from Southampton University, UK. He is a Fulbright scholarship
winner and Visiting Scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
USA. His research interests are technology-enhanced language learning,
telecollaboration and language learning, and psychology of language learners.
Vera Busse holds a PhD from the University of Oxford and is Professor of
Multilingualism and Education at the University of Münster, Germany. She
has published widely in both the general eld of education and in language
education. She and her team work on a range of educational issues pertaining
to teaching and learning in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms
and are interested in nding ways to better prepare teachers for diversity.
Jean-Marc Dewaele is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism.
He has published widely on individual differences in Second Language
Acquisition and Multilingualism. He is former president of the International
Association of Multilingualism and the European Second Language
Association. He is also General Editor of the Journal of Multilingual and
Multicultural Development. He received awards from the International
Association of Language and Social Psychology and the British Association
for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Joseph Falout is Associate Professor at Nihon University, Japan. He has
published over sixty papers and chapters, primarily on language learning and
teaching: demotivation, remotivation, past selves, future selves, ideal classmates,
group dynamics, present communities of imagining, belonging, voice, hope,
and critical participatory looping. He received an award from the Japan
Association for Language Teaching for his publications and presentations.
Yoshifumi Fukada is Professor in the Department of International Studies at
Meisei University, Tokyo, Japan. His research interests involve L2 learners’
situated learning, dynamic identities, and agency and motivation in language
learning and TL-mediated socialization. He recently published L2 Learning
during Study Abroad: The Creation of Afnity Spaces (2019).
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 15 30-08-2021 13:20:23
Tetsuya Fukuda teaches English in the English for Liberal Arts Program at
the International Christian University in Japan, coordinating courses and
analysing test scores. His research interests include psychological factors
involved in language learning such as L2 motivation, belonging, engagement
and group dynamics as well as program evaluation.
Ofelia García is Professor Emerita of Urban Education and Latin
American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at the Graduate Center of the
City University of New York, USA. The American Educational Research
Association has awarded her three Lifetime Research Achievement
Awards – Social Contexts in Education, Bilingual Education, and Second
Language Acquisition. She is a member of the US National Academy of
Flor-de-lis González-Mujico holds a PhD and MA in applied linguistics
and a BA (Hons) in modern languages. She has imparted language
modules at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain; University of St
Andrews, UK; King’s College London, UK; University of Northampton, UK;
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; and Laureate International
Universities. Her elds of research include L2 motivation, self-regulation,
and digital learning environments.
Tammy Gregersen is Professor of TESOL at the American University of
Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She received her MA in education and
PhD in linguistics in Chile. Her research passions include language teacher
well-being, positive psychology, nonverbal communication in the language
classroom, and language learning and teaching psychology.
Alastair Henry is Professor of Language Education at University West,
Sweden. With Zoltán Dörnyei and Peter MacIntyre, he co-edited
Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning (2015), and with Martin
Lamb, Kata Csizér, and Stephen Ryan, he co-edited the Palgrave Handbook
of Motivation for Language Learning (2019). He is the co-author, with
Zoltán Dörnyei and Christine Muir, of Motivational Currents in Language
Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions (2016).
Phil Hiver is Assistant Professor of Foreign and Second Language Education
at Florida State University, USA. His research explores the complex and
dynamic interface between individual differences and instructed language
development and pedagogy. He is co-author, with Ali Al-Hoorie, of Research
Methods for Complexity Theory in Applied Linguistics (2019).
Emiko Hirosawa is a private elementary school teacher in Tokyo, Japan,
while also doing her doctorate at Waseda University, Japan. She researches
elementary school English education and motivation and is a co-editor of the
textbook series Smile, specically for private elementary schools in Japan.
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 16 30-08-2021 13:20:23
Jim King is Director of Research and Enterprise (joint) in the School of
Education, University of Leicester, UK. His books include Silence in the
Second Language Classroom (2013), The Dynamic Interplay between
Context and the Language Learner (2015), and East Asian Perspectives on
Silence in English Language Education (2020).
Zana Ibrahim is the chair of the English Department at the University of
Kurdistan Hewlêr. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Nottingham
in the UK under the supervision of Zoltán Dörnyei, and an M.A. in TESOL
from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the USA. His research interests
lie mainly in the area of second language acquisition and pedagogy, second
language motivation, positive affect, and sustained ow. He is the co-theorist
of the directed motivational currents concept, and along with Zoltán Dörnyei
and Christine Muir co-authored the rst publication on the construct in 2014.
Martin Lamb is Director of International Education and a lecturer in TESOL
in the School of Education, University of Leeds, UK. He is interested in the
personal and social factors conducive to learning at all life stages. He also
enjoys teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to TESOL.
Kate Maher is Assistant Professor in the Department of British and American
Studies at the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Japan. She is a PhD
candidate at the University of Leicester, UK. Her main research interests
are student silence, speaking-related language anxiety, and psychological
aspects of language learning.
Sarah Mercer is Professor of Foreign Language Teaching and Head of ELT at the
University of Graz, Austria. She is the author, co-author, and co-editor of several
books in the eld of language learning psychology. In 2018, she was awarded
the Robert C Gardner Award for excellence in second language research.
Christine Muir is Assistant Professor in Second Language Acquisition at the
University of Nottingham, UK. Her research interests include the psychology
of language learning and teaching, particularly the area of motivation, and
her publications include Directed Motivational Currents and Language
Education: Exploring Implications for Pedagogy (2020).
Tim Murphey is series editor for TESOL’s Professional Development in
Language Education, co-author, with Dörnyei, of Group Dynamics in the
Language Classroom (2003), author of Music and Song (1991), and co-
editor of Meaningful Action (2013). He has also been a plenary speaker
twenty-one times in fteen countries since 2010.
Robert Murphy received his PhD in applied linguistics from the University of
Nottingham, UK, and MA TESOL from the University of Birmingham, UK.
He researches teacher education and authors neuroELT-based textbooks. He
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 17 30-08-2021 13:20:23
is co-founder of FAB neuroELT conferences, stemming from studies in Mind,
Brain, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA.
W. L. Quint Oga-Baldwin trains teachers and researchers at Waseda
University, Japan. He has authored papers using self-determination theory
in journals such as Contemporary Educational Psychology, Motivation and
Emotion, and Learning and Individual Differences. He is co-editor of a
2019 special issue in System on New Directions for Individual Differences
Research in Language Learning.
Lourdes Ortega is Professor at Georgetown University, USA. She investigates
second language acquisition, particularly usage-based, bilingual, and
educational dimensions in adult classroom settings. Her books include
Understanding Second Language Acquisition (2009) and, co-edited with
Annick De Houwer, the Handbook of Bilingualism (2019). She is the general
editor of Language Learning.
Rebecca L. Oxford is Professor Emerita and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
at the University of Maryland, USA. She has published fteen books,
including Peacebuilding in Language Education (2021). She is also series co-
editor for Spirituality, Religion, and Education and Transforming Education
for the Future.
Mostafa Papi is Assistant Professor of Foreign and Second Language
Education at Florida State University, USA, where he teaches graduate
classes on second language acquisition, research methods, and teaching
methodology. He has published extensively on the role of motivation,
personality, and emotions in language learning.
Matthew E. Poehner is Professor of World Languages Education and Applied
Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is associate editor of the
journal Language and Sociocultural Theory and is co-editor, with J. P. Lantolf,
of the Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development.
Amy S. Thompson is Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department Chair of
World Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics, and the Director of International
Relations and Strategic Planning of Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at
West Virginia University, USA. Her research interests involve individual
differences in SLA and the relationship to bi-/multilingualism. Examples of
her research can be found in journals such as the Modern Language Journal,
TESOL Quarterly, Foreign Language Annals, and IJBEB.
Ema Ushioda is Professor and Head of Applied Linguistics, University of
Warwick, UK. She has research interests in L2 motivation and autonomy,
and has collaborated on various publications with Zoltán Dörnyei. Her
most recent book is Language Learning Motivation: An Ethical Agenda for
Research (2020).
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 18 30-08-2021 13:20:23
In this Foreword I honor Zoltán Dörnyei for his incalculable, worldwide
contributions to second language acquisition (SLA), and I congratulate him
for being so prolic in writing during his sixty years, with many more to
come. He has published twenty-ve books, and his river of articles, chapters,
questionnaires, and translated works is vast. To get a sense of the abundance
and quality of his writings, readers need only go to his meticulously ordered
website at https://www.ZoltánDö The fact that he does not list
his many awards on his website signals modesty amid immense productivity.
The rst time I ever conversed deeply with Zoltán Dörnyei was
approximately a quarter century ago in Budapest, years before he and his
family left Hungary for the UK in 1998. He had invited me to Budapest to
give talks about my research. At that time, he was teaching in the School
of English and American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University. Zoltán was
sandy-haired, young-looking, and full of energy, not so different from how
he looks today. His slightly formal demeanor was leavened with personal
warmth. I observed his dedication to and ambition for his students and the
esteem in which they held him. I was happy to have the opportunity to chat
with his brilliant wife, Sarah Thurrell, and I could imagine the fascinating
discussions they must have at home.
I recognized the nature of Zoltán’s intellect: constantly questing and
questioning; loving the process of theory creation but with an urgency to
apply theory to real problems and situations; willing to collaborate in order
to push theory and practice to new levels; and using his capacious memory
and his native abilities in synthesizing and analyzing. His cognitive faculties
have a scope so wide and so deep that the best scholars in any eld might
have cause for envy. He also empathizes with L2 teachers and students,
having intensively experienced both roles.
I recall Zoltán showing me around Budapest and pointing out the Chain
Bridge (ofcially known as the Széchenyi Chain Bridge), which spans the
broad Danube River and unies the two parts of the city, Buda and Pest.
The image of the bridge has been in my mind’s eye ever since that brief visit
to Budapest. The Chain Bridge is long and graceful, suspended by strong
chains in an astounding feat of hope and engineering. Despite a terrible
attack by the Wehrmacht at the end of the Second World War, the bridge
was successfully rebuilt. It reopened in 1949, a century after its original
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 19 30-08-2021 13:20:23
opening in 1849. It is fair to say that the Chain Bridge is resilient, upright,
and purposeful, that it assists many people on their way, and that it richly
deserves the worldwide attention it receives. The same could be said about
Zoltán. I learned more about the Chain Bridge recently. It was the product
of efforts by a Hungarian social reformer, Count István Széchenyi, and two
specialists from the UK: Adam Clark, the onsite supervising engineer for
the ten years of construction, 1839–49, who stayed in Hungary for the rest
of his life, and the designer William Tierney Clark. The bridge’s nineteenth-
century Hungary–UK links reminded me of Zoltán’s Hungary–UK ties in
the twentieth and twenty-rst centuries.
In a deeper sense, Zoltán has long been a scholarly “bridge.” Here are a
few examples.
Zoltán was a bridge from other elds to SLA, introducing
ideas about “possible selves” from psychologists Markus and
Nurius (1986, 1987). He built on concepts from Markus and
Nurius as he created the “L2 Motivational Self-System,” which
includes ideal and ought-to future self-guides and the L2 learning
environment (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009a, 2009b). The clarity and
practical applicability of this self-system theory have sparked a
remarkable amount of research and has encouraged classroom
Zoltán was again a bridge from other elds to SLA as he employed
neurobiological and cognitive neuropsychological ndings to
explain that humans have two sensory systems (physiological and
mental) and that both systems have implications for L2 teaching
and learning. The rst sensory system involves the obvious senses
of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and others. In the rst system, the
word “vision” refers only to sight. In the second sensory system,
“vision” refers broadly to mental imagery of any kind (e.g., visual,
auditory, tactile, and olfactory1), and this information was a partial
basis for research on L2 learners’ future self-images, sensory styles,
and mental imagery capacity (Dörnyei & Chan, 2013). According
to cognitive neurological research, mental imagery relies largely on
the same neural pathways and regions that are used by the actual
physiological senses (Dörnyei & Chan). A deepening understanding
of mental imagery led to the theory of Directed Motivational
Currents, or DMCs, dened by Muir and Dörnyei (2013) as
motivational drives that involve vision and goals and that stimulate
long-term, focused behavior.
As a bridge from other elds to SLA and as a bridge from theory to
practice within SLA, Zoltán worked with Magdelena Kubanyiova
to draw on theories and practices of imagery enhancement from
education, psychology, and sports. The two researchers brilliantly
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 20 30-08-2021 13:20:23
designed and tested methods of imagery enhancement useful for L2
learners and teachers (Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2014).
Zoltán bridged two eldstheology and psycholinguistics—when
he earned an MA and a PhD in theology after earning a PhD in
psycholinguistics and a DSc in linguistics. He integrated tenets and
ndings from many more elds in his book Vision, Mental Imagery
and the Christian Life: Insights from Science and Scripture (Dörnyei,
2019c), in which he explained why humans’ dual sensory system is
so important for receiving communication from God. He posited
that Divine vision draws on familiar imagery from the earthly,
material world and then shifts attention to an alternate, spiritual
reality. For me, this book offered Zoltán’s most detailed and most
personally moving discussions of vision.
An excellent intellectual historian, Zoltán has served as a bridge
within SLA to help explain the historical-theoretical evolution of
L2 motivation (Dörnyei, 2019a; Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015). Though
not shy about his own theories, he respectfully elaborated on other
important and inuential theories, such as the socio-educational
model, which was developed and extensively researched by Robert
C. Gardner (1985, 2010) and his colleagues. A recent journal article,
“Psychology and Language Learning: The Past, the Present and the
Future” (Dörnyei, 2019b), underscored to me Zoltán’s sharp insight
and foresight, as well as his accurate hindsight on many topics.
I could explore more examples from the areas of interest and activity that
Zoltán and I share, such as self-regulation, complexity theory, principled L2
teaching, and (in the distant past) coursebook-writing, but I will stop here. I
have done what I intended to do: to shed light on Zoltán as a person and as
a scholarly “bridge.” In many expected or unexpected ways, he will continue
to be a bridge, and SLA and the world will be better for it.
Rebecca L. Oxford, PhD
Professor Emerita and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
University of Maryland (USA)
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 21 30-08-2021 13:20:23
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 22 30-08-2021 13:20:23
This book deals with one of the most crucial concepts in second language
learning: motivation. In recognition of the fact that motivation plays a
pivotal role in understanding the processes of second language acquisition,
there has been a rapid expansion of research, journal articles, books, and
conference presentations attempting to better understand what motivation
is and how to best apply its principles to the classroom (Al-Hoorie, 2017,
2018; Boo, Dörnyei, & Ryan, 2015).
This rapid expansion has come at a cost, however. It has become
increasingly challenging to keep up with all the latest ndings and
developments in this burgeoning eld. Even edited volumes, which are
typically intended to provide a less technical account than journal articles,
are growing in number by the day. At the time of writing this Introduction,
two major edited volumes on motivation have just appeared (Al-Hoorie
& MacIntyre, 2020; Lamb, Csizér, Henry, & Ryan, 2019) and two others
are in the works (Hiver, Al-Hoorie, & Mercer, 2021; Li, Hiver, & Papi,
2021). Some readers, especially newcomers to the eld, would probably
nd these rapid developments overwhelming. This book attempts to address
this situation by providing accessible, “bite-size” chapters that are less
formidable to read and that address key research directions.
In order to achieve this aim, we approached a number of active language
motivation researchers and invited them to contribute in their areas of
expertise. We received positive responses from scholars at leading universities
all over the world, ranging from the Americas through Europe and the
Middle East to Japan. This international group of scholars is a further
testimony of the popularity of language motivation research in recent years.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie and Fruzsina Szabó
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 1 30-08-2021 13:20:23
The topics these scholars address fall under ve primary parts. Part 1
deals with General Reections on the eld. Ushioda reects on the ethical
question of the extent to which the teacher can inuence/control students’
choices and behavior. Poehner uses the sociocultural notion of mediation
to reexamine how the eld understands motivation from a dialectical view.
García ends this part with a yet alternative perspective, questioning the
dominance of the psychological paradigm and showing what a sociological
paradigm could offer to language motivation.
Part 2 addresses the critical issues of Language Engagement. Mercer starts
by exploring the rationale for researchers and teachers to understand the
role of engagement and outlines a research agenda for research on this area.
Hiver argues for the need to view engagement from a complex dynamic
perspective and to draw from advances from the learning sciences and from
the psychology of language learning. Henry discusses the role of goal-setting
and how the type of goals can have considerable implications for goal pursuit
and for successful goal achievement. Oga-Baldwin and Hirosawa introduce
self-determination theory and how it offers an explanatory mechanism for
the dialogic interaction that teachers use to draw students into learning
Part 3 focuses on Selves Approaches. MacIntyre critically reviews the
L2 Motivational Self System, assessing how well this model has taken
advantage of the conceptual affordances of self theory and avoided its
pitfalls. Papi highlights several ways in which future selves can be employed
to enhance language teaching practice, including developing a motivational
vision, reducing negative emotions, and increasing positive emotions.
Thompson considers learning a language other than English, concentrating
on the feasibility of creating a vivid ideal L2 self with limited contact with
or resources regarding the target language. González-Mujico examines the
impact of technology on L2 selves and how mental visualization of an L2
possible self using digital tools can enhance learning engagement and L2
language acquisition.
Part 4 is concerned with Emotions and Affect, a relatively new subeld
of language motivation. Dewaele provides a personal-historical reection
on the development of emotion research in the eld of language learning.
Maher and King examine the anxiety of silent learners using cognitive-
behavioral theory and suggest activities to promote both positive emotional
and social engagement. Gregersen and Al Khateeb explore the phenomenon
of emotional contagion and how teachers and learners can capitalize on
it. Muir turns to group-level affect and how it applies in the context of
understanding and supporting directed motivational currents and long-term
The last part, Part 5, expands the discussion to more Emerging Topics
that are only recently appearing in the research arena. Al-Hoorie and Hiver
review the recent move of complexity theory from offering metaphors
guiding thinking to highlighting empirical methods to investigate motivation
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 2 30-08-2021 13:20:23
phenomena. Lamb presents a critical discourse analysis perspective on
language motivation and applies it to the Indonesian context. Busse
ventures into extending the research landscape beyond the monolingual
bias in motivational research, adding research from a multiethnic school
setting. Ibrahim draws on the notion of English as a lingua franca and how
it can be utilized in motivating English learners through offering a realistic
goal: to successfully communicate while using accurate grammar. Murphy
reviews seven key neuroELT maxims that have been shown to directly relate
to success in raising classroom motivation. Finally, Fukada and colleagues
examine how group dynamics contribute to psychological and physical well-
being and to motivation in learning foreign languages from anthropological,
affective, and social perspectives.
We hope that the format of this book—with its brief and accessible
chapters, and with its focus on both established topics and emerging
trends—would appeal both to those who feel discouraged by the bewildering
research output on language motivation and to those who come from sister
sub-disciplines and are thus reluctant to invest much time and effort into
reading on the topic of motivation.
This book is a celebration of Zoltán Dörnyei’s sixtieth birthday. Quite
unexpectedly, the COVID-19 outbreak struck, disrupting pretty much
everyone’s career, activities, and everyday plans worldwide. Just as it
affected most people on a global scale, this pandemic has also affected the
contributors to this volume. Most of them had to struggle with lockdowns,
isolation, preparation for online classes, and homeschooling their children—
in addition to diligently writing their contribution to this book and trying
to submit it on time. One contributor, Ofelia García, actually contracted
COVID-19 while writing her chapter. She subsequently self-isolated until
she fortunately recovered. She asked us to emphasize that she feels fortunate
that she was able to see a doctor and get a test when many other people were
not able to and “when so many in [her] city are suffering the injustices of the
virus and of racism.” Other contributors had to deal with the illness and loss
of family members and friends due to the virus. One contributor had several
family members infected, and their city became an epicenter of the virus.
Another contributor had two family members dying during this pandemic.
One died directly as a result of the virus and the other indirectly through not
being able to obtain critical medical treatment. We were eventually able to
nish the book and submit it to the publisher, though we did miss Zoltán’s
birthday. We hope that Zoltán, who was unaware that this project was
taking place, will understand.
9781350166875_txt_rev.indd 3 30-08-2021 13:20:23
Full-text available
Despite the importance that goals have for language learning (Lee & Bong, 2019), little is known about the effects on learner behaviours. Combining individualized (idiographic) and standardized (nomothetic) methodologies, this study investigated whether the self-concordance of learning goals formulated at the beginning of a program of language education affected engagement and resilience at the end of the first year. Following research demonstrating the mediating roles of goal effort and goal progress (Vasalampi et al., 2009), these variables were included in the study design. Participants were 41 teacher education students on a university program in Turkey. Data was collected on four occasions over two semesters. Analyses were carried out using path modelling. Results showed that starting the program with self-concordant goals had positive effects on engagement and resilience later in the year. Effects of self-concordance were mediated by goal effort and goal progress. For engagement, a direct effect of self-concordance was also found. Findings point to an important relationship between the quality of language learners' goals and L2 learning behaviours. Further, the study highlights the value of idiographic methods in goal-focused research.
Full-text available
The success of bilingual immersion programmes has promoted the debate about whether learners’ first language (L1) should be used in foreign language classrooms. Nevertheless, Content and Language Integrated Learning, a pedagogical approach embedded in the development of multilingualism and multiliteracy theories, has overstepped the monolingual principle by allowing for more flexibility in the choice of instructional languages. Previous research has emphasised chiefly the reasons and effects of embracing a shared language, other than the target language, in content-based bilingual classrooms, while this paper intends to investigate the correlations between L1 use with learner factors, the understanding of which can shed light on more efficient translanguaging practices. Through a cross-sectional approach, the present study was contextualised in a large-scale, content-based English as a foreign language programme and drew on 335 undergraduates, who completed a series of questionnaires and tests. Correlation and regression analyses primarily demonstrated that English proficiency was the most significant predictor of learners’ overall attitude to L1 instruction in classrooms, followed by content proficiency and language learning motivation. Gender was a non-significant variable for learners’ overall perspective on L1 employment but was related to the constructs about using the L1 for phatic purposes, with male students requiring more translanguaging assistance. The paper concludes with the implication that the desire for L1 use is associated with various learner factors and that teachers should be aware of how to encourage and regulate translanguaging practices for differing instructional purposes as per the changing needs in classrooms.
Full-text available
The L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) has strongly contributed to current understandings about the conceptualization of language motivation and the interconnections between L2 motivation and maximized learning outcomes. Research informed by the L2MSS has been extensive, and is on the increase. The accumulating body of empirical work in this area calls for meta‐analytic and synthetic assessments. Situated within the L2MSS framework, the present meta‐analysis examines the overall effectiveness of L2 motivation on language learning and addresses the relationship between L2 motivation and variables that moderate its effectiveness. A total of 17 published studies, involving 18,832 language learners, were meta‐analyzed through calculating effect sizes. The results indicate a large effect of L2 motivation on language learning. Moderator analyses also reveal that the overall L2 motivation construct is multifaceted, and its effectiveness is constituted and shaped in interaction with learner age, gender, educational level, learning context, target language, learning outcomes, and geographical locations. From this basis, we contextualize the findings, discuss implications, and consider areas for further work on L2 motivation.
Full-text available
Why is it that some people thrive on the process of acquiring another language, and maintain momentum in their learning, while others struggle to keep on track and fail to achieve proficiency? Why is it that some people willingly engage in time-consuming activities, learning the conjugations of irregular verbs, while others find it hard to keep focused? For William James (1842–1910), one of the founding figures in modern psychology, answers may lie in the processes in which people weigh up different possibilities for action and, once settled upon, how an action can become visually imprinted in the mind. Discussing human will in his classic work The Principles of Psychology (1890/1983), James uses his own reluctance to rise from bed on a cold winter’s morning as an example of how vision prompts action. Arriving at a point where other possibilities (staying in bed) begin to recede from his mind, James describes how thoughts of the things needing to be accomplished during the day become the focal point of his attention, and force him into action (getting up). The spur for this or any other path of action, James maintains, is the image conjured in the mind. As he argues, “the essential achievement of the will, in short, when it is most ‘voluntary’, is to ATTEND to a difficult object and hold it fast before the mind” (James 1890/1983, p. 1166; see also Cross & Markus, 1990; Hunt, 2007). Focusing on vision–the mental images of objects held “fast before the mind”–and on goals that have a deeper personal meaning, this chapter discusses their roles in shaping L2 learning behavior. Drawing on work in mainstream and L2 psychology, it examines the ways in which vision can generate and sustain focused energy, and highlights the potentially positive effects of learning goals that resonate with personal interests, values and beliefs.
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