LINGUIST List 31.538

Thu Feb 06 2020

Diss: English; Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition: Muhammad Shahbaz: ''A study of motivational factors for English language learning in Pakistan: a socio-contextual perspective''

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 03-Feb-2020
From: Muhammad Shahbaz <>
Subject: A study of motivational factors for English language learning in Pakistan: a socio-contextual perspective
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Institution: Northeast Normal University
Program: PhD English Language and Literature
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Muhammad Shahbaz

Dissertation Title: A study of motivational factors for English language learning in Pakistan: a socio-contextual perspective

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Liu YongBing

Dissertation Abstract:

This work sets to explore the motivation of young Pakistani students to learn English in the first year of their tertiary education. English is highly emphasized in education system and it is taught from grade one in Pakistan. The demand of English for the country‘s needs is never greater than current scenario as twenty first century is posing many different economic, political, and social challenges. In the meantime, motivation has always been acknowledged as a major factor for successful language learning. There is no denying in accepting this role of motivation across contexts but recent literature has pointed out its complexity and dynamicity in different settings and particular contexts. This trend has encouraged the use of multiple frameworks and mixing different methodologies for research in second or foreign language learning motivation. This is offering new possibilities for bringing new perspectives from academically unexplored areas of second language acquisition.

Therefore, this thesis endeavors to investigate second or foreign language learning motivation in Pakistani context, focusing on multiple theoretical frameworks of second language motivation research. The basic purpose was to find out some of the motivational factors that enhance English language learning motivation of Pakistani students. At the same time, the effects of different socio-contextual factors were also studied to understand unique features of socio-cultural setting of Pakistan. Considering motivation as a vibrant assemblage of sensitive cognitions and affective to stimulate individual learning, this study adopted a mixed methods approach to spotlight some of the important factors of English language learning motivation for Pakistani students in their first year of college studies.

A group of five hundred and forty-seven students responded to motivational elements questionnaire while twenty-four participants were interviewed at the same time to understand group preferences as well as underlying individualistic beliefs of English language learners in Pakistan. In accordance with recent debates in the field, results present a complex picture of English language learning motivation for the studied group of learners. Both quantitative and qualitative data show that multiple factors work intertwiningly for students to sustain motivation and no single factor can be solely stressed for motivation of English language learners in Pakistan. However, descriptive, inferential and interpretive analyses have outlined four prominent factors that played a significant role in the motivation of these students. These factors are attitude towards learning English, international orientation, ideal L2 self and instrumental motivation.

Results indicate that all students are motivated to learn English and English as an international language is of particular importance. A desire to establish local as well as global identities provide strong motivation to learn English. Those students who have developed an elaborate and vivid image of their desired future selves are highly motivated and successful language learners as compared to other students. The data analyses show that students are not integratively motivated to learn English and there is no evidence for strong cultural interest or positive attitude towards target language community. Many students are instrumentally motivated and learn English for higher education and to secure respectable jobs in the society. English anxiety, within and out of class, is an important factor to demotivate learners in different settings.

Page Updated: 06-Feb-2020