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Language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad: An activity theory perspective

Heather W. Allen, University of Miami

Abstract

This study investigated the development of language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad for six intermediate-level students of French. Taking an activity theory perspective, findings demonstrated that one of two orientations motivated participants to learn or continue learning French at the college level: linguistic motives or career-oriented motives. The choice to study abroad was seen as either a critical step to achieving fluency or a means of travel and cultural learning. Enhanced language-learning motivation emerged, to varying degrees, for participants with linguistically oriented motives for learning French who viewed study abroad as a language-learning experience but not for participants with primarily pragmatic reasons for learning French and participating in study abroad. Implications of the study include the need for curricular intervention in student learning abroad.

Suggested Citation

Heather W. Allen. "Language-learning motivation during short-term study abroad: An activity theory perspective" Foreign Language Annals 43.1 (2010): 27-49.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/heatherwillisallen/21