Many Linguists Believe Motivation Is Important English Language

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Integrative motivation is having the desire to belong in the culture of the target language. This learner wants to integrate with native speakers of the target L2 language. An example of this is an individual who moves to a different country and wants to learn the language to live there.Instrumental motivation is learning the language to get a job or to pass an exam. In this type of motivation, the L2 learner does not need to integrate with the native speakers.

An example of instrumental motivation is a Chinese student taking English classes to pass the CET test.Resultative motivation is when learning the target language itself becomes the motivation because the learner is having success while learning. An example of this is an individual who scores well on an English test, and then decides to take more English classes because that person did so well the first time.Intrinsic motivation is being motivated by the sheer curiosity of learning something new. An example of this is an individual who can speak, write, and listen to English at a very high level, but never took any English lessons or never spoke with any native speakers.


Many linguists believe motivation is important to success. (Harmer, 2007:98; Brown, 1987, p. 114; Yule, 2010: 192; Keblawi, 2006: 1) Motivation is very complex. (Ellis, 1997) It can be influenced by many things, such as, academic experience, social context of instruction, positive attitudes, and positive attitudes linked with effective strategies, attitudes of their peers, teachers, parents, required language study, and status of a language in a society. (Hornberger, 1996: 4) Motivation can sometimes have the opposite effect on the learner, such as in Resultative motivation; the learner could become less or more motivative to continue. (Ellis, 1997: 75) This could happen if the learner gets negative feedback from peers because that individual is speaking in the L2 language. For these reasons, motivation does plays an important role in learning language, but it might not be the sole key predictor.

The most important factor of motivation might be the intensity level at which the learner is motivated. (Snow, Pa-dilla, & Campbell in Hornberger, 1996: 12) Intensity level is the amount of effort invested in learning a language. (Keblawi, 2006: 2) Since there are many different types of motivation, and many factors that also contribute to motivation, there might not be any one type of motivation that is better than another type, but as long as the learner has high intensity level, success might happen. Even with high motivational intensity, successful learning might not take place without the correct learning environment. (Richards, J.C and Long, M.H, 2009) The correct learning environment means good teachers with correct learning strategies, positive parents, helpful peers, and a helpful society.

Motivational intensity and the correct learning environment might be the two most important things in learning a language.According to Cook, Richards, Ellis and Long, other factors that might play an important role are losing their culture or identity, anxiety, aptitude, age, extrovert or introvert, sex differences, intelligence, cognitive style, and empathy. (Cook, 2008: chapter 8; Richards, J.C and Long, M.H, 2009) Losing their identity or culture is when the learner speaks in the L2 language, and starts to not act like themselves anymore. (Richards, J.C and Long, M.H, 2009) This might cause the learner to not want to learn a different language. Anxiety can be caused by other students making fun of the L2 learner because the individual speaks in a different way.

Language aptitude is having a knack for something. (Cook, 2008; Ellis, 1997) This could lead the learner to have resultative motivation for learning a language. (Ellis, 1997) Age could play an important role because of the critical period hypothesis. (Ellis, 1997: 68) This hypothesis states that you have a much better chance to learn a language if you start at a young age. (Ellis, 1997: 68) Extroverts tend to have better speaking skills, and introverts tend to have better writing skills. (Cook, 2008) Girls tend to be better language learners than boys, maybe because girls are more motivated. The more intelligence you are, the better chance you have to learn something. (Cook, 2008) "Having the same cognitive style as the teacher, the pupil will have a more positive learning experience." (Cognitive style: WEB) Having empathy could cause the language learner to care more about the language, thus learn more. This is why losing their culture or identity, anxiety, aptitude, age, extrovert or introvert, sex differences, intelligence, cognitive style, and empathy are other factors that play an important role in learning a language.


To this day, many linguists can not agree on which theories are best to use when describing motivation. Three theories that might be the most important are self determination, goal, and attribution theory. (Keblawi, 2006)"In, the self determination theory, rather than focusing on how people (e.g. teachers in theclassroom) can motivate others; the focus should be on how people can create the conditions within which others can motivate themselves" (Deci, Connell, & Ryan in Keblawi, 2006). In future teachings, the teacher might be able to use this theory by focusing on what they tell students when they give them feedback.

An example would be writing useful, meaningful positive words on an essay that students submit to the teacher, and give students positive reinforcement when they try to do something, like answer a question in class. This might create resultative and/or intrinsic motivation in the learner.Student should be more motivated to learn a language if they see the language as fun in itself, rather than giving students prizes for getting correct answers; so teachers should use positive feedback to make students more motivated. (Arteaga, 2006; Dörnyei, 2001).Keblawi explains that the goal theory gives a learner more direction, helps the learner try to accomplish the goal more, provides the learner with more energy, and "goals affect action indirectly by leading to the arousal, discovery, and/or use of task relevant knowledge and strategies" (Locke & Latham in Keblawi, 2006) In future teachings, the teacher might incorporate this theory into the classroom by using task-base learning.

Task-based learning has a central goal where the students would reach this central goal by completing smaller subtasks; the students goals that are just beyond their ability level because this might lead to more motivation. The classroom should be set up with goals that are short term with subtasks that are manageable. (Schunk in Arteaga, 2006) This might cause students to have more intrinsic motivation.The attribution theory states that past successes or failures determine the learner's motivation for the future. (Dörnyei, 2001) If learners think they don't have the ability, then their motivation is likely to decrease. If they think that their failure is from not trying or caring, then trying harder should increase motivation. (Keblawi, 2006) In future teachings, the teacher can use this theory by making sure to speak at a level in which the students can understand.

This will not give them the since of lack of ability, but give them a since of laziness if they do not complete their work. This might give the learner more motivation to work harder.Arteaga, J. (2006) A Framework to Understanding Motivation in the TESOL Field. Universidad de Nariño, Colombia 147-159.Brown, D. (1987) Principles of language learning and teaching. 2ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.Cognitive style.URL:, V. (2008) Second Language Learning and Language Teaching.

4th ed. London: Arnold.Critical Period Hypothesis. URL:, E. L., Connell, J. E., & Ryan, R. M. (1989). Self-determination in a work organization. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74(4), 580-590.Dörnyei, Z. (2001).

Teaching and researching motivation. Harlow, England: Longman.Ellis, R. (1997) Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Harmer, J. (2007) The practices of English Language Teaching. Fourth Edition.

Harlow: Longman.Hornberger, N; Mckay, S. (1996) Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressKeblawi, F. (2006) A Critical Appraisal of Language Learning Motivation Theories. Al-Qasemi Academy.Locke, E. & Latham, J. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(90), 705-717.Richards, J.C and Long, M.H. (2009) Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching.

Cambridge: Cambridge University PressSchunk, D. H. (1991b). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26, 233-262.Yule, G. (2010) The Study of Language. 4th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Place of articulation is located in the vocal tract. It is where the sound is produced. An example of this is the P consonant sound is produced at the low lip and upper lip; where as, the F consonant sound is produced at lower lip and upper teeth.Manner of articulation is how the sound is produced using speech organs, such as, the lips.

The degree of stricture determines the sound by narrowing the vocal tract. An example is the P consonant sound is produced by closing off all the air flow. This is called an oral stop.

When released, the sound comes as a burst via air flow, and it should be pronounced using the lips; this is a called bilabial plosive.Epenthesis is adding extra sounds into a word when saying that word. When adding the extra sounds into the word, it might make it easier to say the word because the flow of the word is not stopped. An example of this is saying the word hamster, but adding an extra consonant P into word making it hampster.Simplification is the process where letters are taken out of the word, thus making it easier for the speaker to pronounce.

Simplification is very common in children, such as, bottle becomes bobo.


Articulation of consonants and production of vowels might help by teaching students how to correctly speak English words. (Yule, 2010; Roach, 2009; Cook, 2008) In my own context, Chinese university students have a hard time with articulation of the voiceless alveo-palentals [ʃ] and [ʧ], such as the "sh" and "ch" sounds. According to Cheng Fangzhi, Chinese students also have a hard time with "/v/ in very because it is often pronounced as /w/; /ø/ in think as /s/; /tS/ in cheap like the Chinese "qi" and /dZ/ in judge like Chinese "ji"."(1998:2) This might be because these sounds might not occur in their mother tongue and if not, should be hard to pronounce. (Maniruzzaman; Balfe ) Students could learn about these differences in sounds by showing them the positions of speech organs. (Roach, 2009) An example of doing this, the teacher could use modeling, and show the learners an animation with sound for the speech organs that are difficult to see by modeling.

Second, students could be shown the manner of articulation. (Roach, 2009) An example, students could practice speaking the single phoneme by using the silent method. Third, teaching the differences in pronunciation of the sounds by using 'minimal pairs' along with choral drilling. (Balfe) Minimal pairs are words that are only different in one sound, such as, shop and chop. Choral drilling is where the teacher says a word and the students repeat it. To help students further understand how to differentiate the pronunciations, maybe games such as songs and tongue twisters could be used.Teaching very detailed descriptions of consonants and vowels might not be a good idea because students that can explain the voiceless palato-alveolar affricate: articulated with the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the front of the tongue is domed at the plate, air goes through the mouth, only along the center of the tongue rather than the sides by using the lungs and diaphragm , as Helen Fraser states, "giving learners a phonetic description of the target sound is often not helpful, even if it is done accurately." (Helen Fraser) Triphthong might not be a good idea to teach because the vowel movement is tiny, and the middle of the three vowel sound is hard to differentiate between triphthongs and some of the diphthongs and long vowels; it is questionable whether a triphthong contains one or two syllables. (Roach, 2009: 31) It might not be a good idea to teach students the descriptions of consonants and vowels using the International Phonetic Association Chart, even though English words pronunciation and spelling don't always match up, and to keep this problem from happening, people might use the phonetic alphabet. (Yule, 2010: 26) This is because Cook says, "teaching or correcting a single phoneme may not have much effect on the students' pronunciation, or may even have the wrong effect."(Cook, 2008:81)


It might be best to teach phonotactics to intermediate students. Intermediate level students will already have a basic base structure of how the English language works and might be aware of their own pronunciation problems. Teaching learners, at this level, phonotactics might help because they will be able to understand different types of consonant clusters that affect their pronunciation. (Roach, 2009:74) It might be appropriate material for intermediate students because phonotactics of larger onset consonant clusters is not hard to explain. (Yule, 2010) Phonotactics could be taught by giving students a handout with the basic syllable structures, such as CCVC, VCC, VCC, CVC, V, CV, and CVC. (Yule, 2010) Rules could be give to students, such as, "the first consonant must always be /s/, followed by one of the voiceless stops (/p/, /t/, /k/) and a liquid or glide (/l/, /r/, /w/)."(Yule, 2010: 42) After students become aware of syllable structures, teachers could give work sheets with minimal sets. "This type of exercise involving minimal sets also allows us to see that there are definite patterns in the types of sound combinations permitted in a language." (Yule, 2010:48)Coarticulation is made up of two parts: assimilation and elision.

Coarticulation happens in normal everyday talk and should not be seen as uncorrected or poor speech; without using coarticulation, speaking would sound artificial. (Yule, 2010) Coarticulation might best be taught to students that have an advanced level of the English language. This may be a good idea because in order to understand coarticulation, one may need an excellent speaking, understanding and knowledge of the English language because if you don't have an excellent grasp of English, the learner might not understand assimilation because assimilation is used to simplify speaking English by making it quicker, easier and more efficient. (Yule, 2010) The same might be applied to elisions because it's the process of not speaking some parts of a word. (Yule, 2010) Coarticulation could be taught to students by making students aware that this exists in the English language. (Kasuya, 1999) The student could be shown a sentence, and then shown how a native speaker might say it.

This could also be done by showing students English songs or TV shows. Lastly, teachers might have students read fast to practice using coarticulation in natural speaking. (Kasuya, 1999)In my own context, Chinese students use both epenthesis and simplification. (Hansen, 2001) This could be explained to students by giving them examples in their own language and explaining that this also happens in the English language, such as L1 transfer. L1 transfer is applying knowledge from the native language in learning the L2 language. Then a work sheet could be given to students with examples of this happening in English.Balfe, F. The Role of 'Cued Articulation' withthe E.S.L Student.

Self published. Australia Ph. (03) 9598-4994Cook, V. (2008) Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. 4th ed. London: Arnold.Fangzhi, C. The Teaching of Pronunciation to Chinese Students of English. 1998.Binzhou Teachers' CollegeFraser, H. Presented at ALAA Conference, Perth, 1999 Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of New England, Armidale, NSW.Hansen, J. Lingusitic Constraints on the Acquistion of English Syllabe Codas by Native Speakers of Mandarin Chinese.

Oxford University Press 2001Kasuya, Michiko.Teaching Features of the Stream of Speech in Japanese Classrooms. University of Birmingham. 1999Maniruzzaman, M. Teaching Efl Pronunciation: Why, What and How. Department of English, Jahangirnagar University: 2008Roach, P. (2009) English Phonetics and Phonology. 4th ed.

Cambridge: Cambridge.Yule, G (2010) The Study of Language. 4th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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