The present study investigates the relationships among motivational factors, cultural correlates and second language proficiency. The participants, from both Western and Asian backgrounds, were learning Chinese at university level in the People's Republic of China. 115 students (35 Western students and 80 Asian students) ranging from beginning to advanced levels of proficiency were surveyed.
The results of the study indicated that the degree of integrativeness into Chinese culture and motivation was significantly and positively related to Chinese language proficiency, while language anxiety was significantly and negatively correlated to such proficiency. However instrumental orientation was found to have no statistically significant relationship with such proficiency. Multiple regression analysis indicated that integrativeness and gender were major variables predicting Chinese language proficiency. Significant differences between Western and Asian student groups were found in terms of motivational variables and Chinese language proficiency. Compared with the Asian student group, the Western student group tended to perform better in spoken Chinese proficiency as evaluated by their teachers and seemed to have higher levels of motivation and integrativeness but lower levels of instrumental orientation and language anxiety. Recommendations are made to enhance motivation and second language acquisition.