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Title:The Role of Motivation and Language Use in Learning English as a Second Language in Adult Learners (Esl)
Author(s):England, Lizabeth Tifft
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This study examines the relationship between motivation as a personality characteristic and proficiency in English as a second language. Motivation is defined as perception of ability to push oneself to complete a given task. A learner who is motivated is the one who is expected to be proficient in language learning. In addition to motivation, English language use is also measured. By examining the personality characteristic of motivation along with learners' perceptions of the uses they have for English in both present and future language use settings, ESL proficiency is predicted.
By considering English language use as a logical extension of motivation to learn the language, the present study goes beyond previous motivation work. In an examination of a group of foreign graduate students who had been admitted to the University of Illinois, motivation to learn English in a specific social and linguistic environment was described. The role of motivation in spoken English proficiency has not been analyzed previously among ESL learners in the U.S. In addition, the influence of motivation on ESL proficiency was analyzed using several measures of proficiency including TOEFL and TOEFL parts, the Illinois English Placement Test and its parts and an academic English skills test. Three measures of spoken English skill were used. The role of motivation in spoken English proficiency has not been previously analyzed among ESL learners in the U.S.
Correlational analyses revealed that goal-oriented motivation characterized these learners' language learning motivation. In addition, it was found that English was studied for use in academic settings both in the present and the future, and not in nonacademic settings. the TOEFL was found to be influenced more by motivation than either the EPT or academic English tests. It was found that measures of motivation influenced proficiency in skills in which learners were already proficient, and not in that skill which they reported to be most important to their academic success--the writing skill. Implications of the study for ESL teaching and for further research in the role of motivation in ESL learning are discussed.
Issue Date:1984
Description:167 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502133
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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