Learning Chinese abroad: the role of language attitudes and motivation in the adaptation of international students in China

Baohua YU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The objectives of this study are to investigate the interrelationships of a number of affective variables related to studying Chinese as a second language (L2); to examine the relationships between affective variables in second language acquisition (SLA) and the indices of adaptation; and thirdly, to assess the changes over time in the attitudes and motivation of international students and their sociocultural and academic adaptation during their nine-month Chinese studies at a tertiary level. The results show that integrative motivation plays a very important positive role while language anxiety plays a very important negative role in both sociocultural adaptation and academic adaptation. Moreover, academic adaptation, long being ignored in the literature of crosscultural psychology and SLA, is found to be closely and positively related to sociocultural adaptation in this study. The conclusions are drawn accordingly in respect of longitudinal research design and the importance in relating language-related variables to the adaptation of L2 learners. Suggestions to host institutions and international students are also made in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-321
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by University Postgraduate Fellowships from the University of Hong Kong. The author would like to deeply thank the Editor, Prof. John Edwards, and two anonymous reviewers for very valuable comments and suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript.


  • Academic adaptation
  • Attitudes and motivation
  • International students
  • Second language acquisition
  • Sociocultural adaptation


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