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Contradictory Others and the Habitus of Languages: Surveying the L2 Motivation Landscape in the United Kingdom

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JournalThe Modern Language Journal
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Feb 2017
DatePublished (current) - 25 Aug 2017
Issue number3
Volume101
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)517-532
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Britain’s already poor record for language learning might be exacerbated by the Global English phenomenon,
in that utilitarian reasons for learning languages other than English are increasingly undermined
(Lanvers, 2014; Lo Bianco, 2014). This article offers a state-of-the-art review of UK research on
second language (L2) learning motivation and attitude. The introduction is dedicated to a review of language
education policy and numerical evidence on the decline in language learning. Part I reviews UK
motivational literature under the headings Primary school; Secondary school; University and beyond; Teachers,
parents, milieu. The evaluation of the literature reveals some striking lacunae, as well as a misfit between
common explanations of the UK’s language learning crisis and the social divide between those who
choose to learn languages and those who do not. Amotivation-in-context understanding of UK language
learning needs to account for the many contradictory Other influences impacting on learner motivation.
Therefore, Part II presents a new motivational model, based on Higgins’s Self-Discrepancy Theory, a
model which includes multifaceted Others as well as Own selves, including that of resistance/rebellion against
Others.

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© 2017 The Modern Language Journal. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • learner motivation, Ideal self, Ought to self

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