Motivation and Chinese second language acquisition

Authored by: Xiaohong Wen

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Second Language Acquisition

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946606
eBook ISBN: 9781315670706
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the motivation theories and research on L2 in general and Chinese as a Second Language (CSL) in particular. It starts with analyses of L2 motivation theories in historical contexts, canvasing the gradual shift from social-psychological perspectives in a bilingual-oriented setting to cognitive-situated perspectives, as well as socio-dynamic perspectives in a foreign language instructional setting. The chapter focuses on a review of empirical studies conducted on CSL motivation in the past two decades. It synthesizes the key findings and core issues, including initial and sustained motivation in relation to learning experience and contexts, learner factors, and CSL motivation constructs. In addition, the chapter compares different models, e.g., “socio-educational model”, general motivation psychology approaches, process-oriented approaches, and the “L2 Motivational Self System”. It is under these theoretical frameworks that the CSL research has been developed and expanded. The chapter provides implications, derived from the studies, for CSL curriculum and classroom instruction. It ends with a detailed discussion on future research direction.

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