Perceptions, Motivation and Achievement in Language Learning in a Trilingual City

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Many studies have indicated that motivation is critical in language learning success (Artelt, 2005; Baker, 1992; Ellis, 1997; Gardner, 1985, 2001; Irie, 2003; Song, 2003). It has been suggested that language teachers should become aware of students' motivations and attitudes in language learning (Morris, 2001). The purpose of the study reported in this presentation was to examine students' perceptions on the three languages they studying in a teacher-training programme in Hong Kong, to find out whether these students' perceived values of these languages were related to their motivation in language learning, and correlated with their language achievement. The complex political and socio-cultural contexts that shape the trilingual environment in Hong Kong were explored: since the sovereignty of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997, all students have to learn three languages in school namely Chinese with Cantonese as medium of instruction (mother tongue language), Putonghua (second language with similar written form but slightly different cultural background) and English (foreign language of a different culture).
Results of questionnaire survey and language assessment will be presented. Subjects of this study were students enrolled in a four-year full-time Bachelor of Education programme. This study examined the role of Cantonese, Putonghua and English in the higher education sector in Hong Kong. Three main questions were asked: (1) Among the three languages, which language is perceived to have higher prestige? (2) Do the students' perceived values of the languages affect their motivation in learning the languages? (3) Do the students’ motivation correlated with their language achievement? The findings will provide information for teacher education language programmes.


Keywords: Language Learning, Perception, Motivation
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Perceptions, Motivation and Achievement in Language Learning in a Trilingual City


Wai Ha Leung

Senior Instructor, Centre for Language in Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Ref: L09P0297