School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Connie McDonald

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Language and Literature; Language, Modern


Chinese, heritage language learners, L2 motivational self system, nonheritage language learners


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education


Dornyei (2005) proposed the L2 motivational self system in response to the need to develop the socioeducational model. This study further tests the validation of the L2 motivational self system by investigating beginning Chinese language learners at the college level in the United States. A questionnaire combining two published questionnaires was administered to 197 subjects, including heritage language learners and nonheritage language learners, and compared the motivational representations of the two types of learners. This is the first study to test the L2 motivational self system by investigating learners of a language other than English. Through a correlation analysis, the study found significant correlations between (a) integrativeness and the ideal L2 Self; (b) ideal L2 self and motivational strength; (c) ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, instrumentality-promotion, and instrumentality-prevention; and (d) ideal L2 self, international posture, and willingness to communicate. Through a MANOVA analysis, the heritage and nonheritage language learners were found different in six variables: motivational strength, ought-to L2 self, family influence, cultural interest, prevention, and international posture. The study supports previous studies on the theoretical legitimacy of the L2 motivational self system and suggests that applying the L2 motivational self system can be extended to a language other than English and to second-language settings.