Many studies suggest that motivation is crucial for success in acquiring a second language (L2) (Dörnyei & Clément, 2000; Dörnyei & Schmitt, 2001; Ely, 1986; Gardner, 1985, 2000; Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Hernández, 2006, 2010; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003). The current study investigates if motivation mediates the L2 acquisition of sociolinguistic competence, specifically, the acquisition of null and overt subject pronouns in Spanish by L2 speakers. Participants completed a written contextualized task (WCT) which consists of a dialogue in Spanish that contains 16 multiple-choice items where each participant selected either a null or an overt subject pronoun to complete the dialogue. The variables Continuity of reference, TMA of the verb, Continuity of the TMA, and Person of the referent were manipulated for each item. The participants also rated twelve statements related to their motivation toward Spanish. The results show that only those participants with the highest self-reported motivation toward Spanish are sensitive to any of the manipulated variables in the WCT. This finding suggests that motivation plays a role in the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence in a second language.
Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum: Building Bridges between Disciplines
edited by Ryan T. Miller, Katherine I. Martin, Chelsea M. Eddington, Ashlie Henery, Nausica Marcos Miguel, Alison M. Tseng, Alba Tuninetti, and Daniel Walter
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