Conceptualising English L1 speakers’ motivation for learning L2 Chinese in Australian universities

Xiaoping Gao*, Stuart Woodcock, Jinjin Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated English first language (L1) speakers’ motivation for learning Chinese as a second language (L2) in Australia and the links of underlying motivational components to learner sociobiographical (e.g. gender and reasons for learning) and language learning variables (i.e. experience abroad, hours of self-study, and speaking with Chinese L1 speakers). A total of 164 Australian university students participated in the study. The findings show that instrumentality (e.g. employment and travel) tops their orientations to learn L2 Chinese, followed by integrative orientations (e.g. interest in the Chinese language and culture and desire to communicate with the Chinese people), with mandatory requirements as the least agreed reason. Statistical analyses reveal that the underlying structure of their motivation consists of six components: intrinsic motivation, orientation, anxiety, integrativeness, instrumentality, and sociality. Some of them are linked to certain learner background variables. Females demonstrated stronger instrumental orientation than their male counterparts. Visiting China and self-study hours have positive connections with intrinsic motivation. The findings shed light on the complexities and multifaceted characteristics of motivation and their links with learner sociobiographical and learning variables by providing evidence for global language speakers’ motivation to learn other languages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Early online date2 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2022


  • Chinese as a foreign language
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • extrinsic motivation
  • instrumentality
  • integrativeness
  • sociobiographical variables

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