Motivational and cultural correlates of second language acquisition: An investigation of international students in the universities of the people's Republic of China

Baohua YU*, David A. WATKINS

*Corresponding author for this work

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

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17.1-17.22
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian Review of Applied Linguistics
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This study was made possible by a grant from Sik Sik Yuen Education Research Fund. The article is based on a section of a PhD thesis by the first author submitted to the University of Hong Kong under the supervision of the second author and Professor Amy B. M. Tsui, whom the authors would like to thank for her insightful and constructive suggestions.

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