By Anne Merritt Essay

563 words - 2 pages

By Anne Merritt28 Feb 2013What motivates us to learn foreign languages؟English teenagers are the worst in Europe at learning a second language. But is that any surprise, given how widely spoken English is? Anne Merritt looks at what motivates us to learn foreign languages.Integrative motivationThere's a saying that a language is "best learned between the sheets". Indeed, cross-cultural romance is a common form of integrative motivation. Learners who study a language with the aim of better understanding a culture, language, and society are integratively motivated.In this case, language aptitude is the tool for building relationships and meaningful communication. Linguistic studies show that integrative motivation yields faster and more effective language learning results than other types.The desire to communicate with a partner and honour their culture can accelerate language learning. Of course, this doesn't apply to romantic relationships exclusively. Cross-cultural friendships can fuel one's integrative motivation. An in-law or distant relative with no English ability can also motivate language learning, out of love or simply as a gesture of respect.Integrative motivation also applies to relationships with cultures, not just individuals. Learners from multilingual nations can be integratively motivated to learn their national languages as a way of connecting with their countrymen: English and French in Canada; German, French and Italian in Switzerland; Hindi and regional languages in India.Individuals with family roots in another culture can also be integratively motivated. An American with Irish roots learning Gaelic, or a British-born Iranian learning Persian, are motivated to engage with a culture that is personally meaningful to them.Interestingly, integratively motivated learners with positive attitudes towards the target culture are better at picking up pronunciation and accent. These learners often communicate more...

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