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Learners of foreign languages vary widely in their ultimate level of language attainment. Research on second language acquisition (SLA) suggests that variation in language learning outcomes can be attributed to individual differences, or the unique characteristics of each language learner that affect one’s ability to acquire a foreign language. Among the many individual differences that have been demonstrated to impact one’s ultimate attainment in a foreign language, motivational processes have been identified across the SLA literature as one of the most significant predictors of language achievement (Mohammadi, 2010). Considerable research on second language acquisition suggests that individuals who are intrinsically motivated to learn a foreign language achieve greater levels of language proficiency than individuals who are extrinsically motivated (Gardner, 1985). The present study aims to determine whether motivational orientations in a sample of undergraduate language learners contribute to differences in language achievement, and to further explain the relationship between intrinsic motivation and language proficiency by assessing positive affect as a potential mediator. Finally, the present study also assessed whether positive emotion throughout language learning could predict students’ intention or desire to continue the study of a foreign language. The analyses for the present study were not carried out due to the limited sample size. Instead, a series of correlational analyses were conducted for pedagogical and exploratory purposes. Although the sample size limited our ability to draw conclusions from the data, the general pattern of results suggest that intrinsic motivation is positively correlated with both positive emotion and language proficiency, which is consistent with our hypotheses. Limitations of the present study, implications, and suggestions for further research are discussed.
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Rauso, Abigail Leigh, "Motivation and Emotion in Second Language Learning: Predictors of Objective Language Performance and Sustained Learning in Undergraduate Foreign Language Students" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 73.
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