Motivation and Second Language Acquisition: A Study on the Relation between Motivation and Oral Proficiency
Smet, D. de
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Motivation has been shown to be an important factor in the process of second language (L2) acquisition. Previous research has indicated a relation between motivation and general L2 proficiency. However, less is known about the relation between motivation and specific aspects of L2 proficiency (e.g. oral proficiency). Furthermore, no previous studies have investigated motivation in relation to L2 proficiency in the Netherlands. Therefore, this study tried to fill this gap by administering a motivation questionnaire and an oral proficiency task to Dutch high school students learning English as a second language in an instructed setting. The results of this study suggest that a relation exists between motivation and L2 oral proficiency for Dutch learners of English. In particular, the results showed that participants with a high language anxiety performed worse on an oral proficiency task than participants with a lower language anxiety. Furthermore, learners who identify themselves more with the L2 culture performed better than learners who identify themselves less with the L2 culture. Overall, the results seem to confirm that motivation plays an important role in the L2 acquisition process.