Receptive Bilingual Motivational Selves: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Heritage Language Learners’ Imagining and Creating Success
AuthorMcEvoy, Trudie Clark
AdvisorWildner-Bassett, Mary E.
Ducar, Cynthia M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 08/27/2020
AbstractSince it is frequently the case that receptive bilinguals of Spanish are unable to communicate comfortably with their monolingual Spanish speaking loved ones and live in a country where Spanish is a highly marketable skill, students have pressing reasons to be both personally and professionally motivated to master their Heritage language (HL). Receptive bilinguals, as a part of the Heritage Language Learner (HLL) population are unfortunately excluded from both definitions of L2 and HLLs, and understandably frequently discontinue their studies before achieving a minor in their Heritage Language (Beaudrie, 2009; Beaudrie & Ducar, 2005). While research regarding HLL experience acquiring Spanish in the United States has exploded since the 1990s (Valdés, 2001; Carreira, 2004; Lynch, 2014); more recently, and to a lesser extent, there is a growing body of research regarding HLL motivation (Ducar, 2012; Yanguas, 2010; Oh & Nash, 2014; Husseinalli, 2006; Lee, 2006). There is, unfortunately, a dearth of research regarding the language learner motivation of receptive bilinguals (Beaudrie & Ducar, 2005; Vergara Wilson, 2011; Xie, 2014). The current study seeks to fill this gap in the literature and understand the receptive bilingual experience not just as beginner learners but also as they progress throughout their university studies in a Heritage Language program. Using the L2 Motivational Self System, and more specifically the motivational selves as described by Dörnyei (2009), this study contributes a deeper understanding of how the construction of possible selves serves to create motivation in this particular population at varying points along their learning trajectories. It first describes themes present in the motivational selves of this understudied population as well as societal ideologies that are road blocks that students encounter on their way to successfully creating motivation. These common themes are then analyzed across 5 groups of participants according to the number of courses they have completed in the program, from those who have dropped the program after completing a single semester to those who have completed a minor in Spanish. It identifies several factors which trend in particular directions across participant groups, several of which reinforce the previously identified roadblocks. Finally, this study identifies strategies for coping with these road blocks. It contributes to our understanding of motivation as process, the overlap in motivational orientations, and themes within learning trajectories of receptive bilinguals. As one participant described, “I was never legitimately taught Spanish. It’s almost as though I had been sitting in a math class for years but never actually doing anything [and] one day just being able to take the test from what I had picked up in passing.” This participant’s experience, and other receptive bilingual experiences, are outside of the conventional understandings of HL or L2 labels. Therefore, this research serves to describe the hopes and dreams of this understudied population through an analysis of their motivational selves.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching