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Can L2 motivation be modelled as a self-system?: A critical assessment
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. Lund University, Centre for Languages and Literature, Box 201, SE-221 000, Lund (SWE).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7789-9032
Beijing Foreign Studies University, School of English and International Studies, No.2 North Xisanhuan Road, Beijing (CHN).
2023 (English)In: System (Linköping), ISSN 0346-251X, E-ISSN 1879-3282, Vol. 119, article id 103158Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some two decades ago, Dörnyei (2005) proposed that motivation for L2 learning could be modelled as a self-system. Despite the profound influence of Dörnyei’s scholarship and impact of the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) model, the fundamental premise that motivation for L2 learning can constitute a self-system has escaped critical scrutiny. Highlighting how the self-system constitutes a framework within which self-referential cognition is organized, and that self-appraisal occurs in relation to socially-derived standards (Bandura, 1978; Higgins, 1990), this article critically assesses the utility of a self-system conceptualization. This is accomplished by addressing five problem areas connected with the L2MSS and which relate to the model’s self-system conceptualization: the “fantasy problem” (nondifferentiation of desire and fantasy), the “ought-to L2 self problem” (unspecificity of relevant others and internalization processes), the “integrativeness problem” (difficulty of incorporating affiliation motives), the “learning experience problem” (failure to account for relational and biographical influences), and the “context problem” (inadequate modelling of learner–environment interactions). Critical engagement with these problem areas demonstrates how the self-system conceptualization embodied in the L2MSS is tightly circumscribed, and how a self-regulatory system framework can provide greater utility. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 119, article id 103158
Keywords [en]
L2 motivational self system, Self-referential cognition, Self-regulation, Standards, Self-regulatory system
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-21196DOI: 10.1016/j.system.2023.103158ISI: 001108424400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85175251510OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-21196DiVA, id: diva2:1829670
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CC BY 4.0

Available from: 2024-01-19 Created: 2024-01-19 Last updated: 2024-01-19Bibliographically approved

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Henry, Alastair

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