Department/School of the Primary Author

English, Literature, and Modern Languages


Motivation, L2 Motivational Self System, foriegn language, secondary students


The purpose of this study has been to investigate American secondary students’ attitudes towards foreign languages (FL). When researching attitudes towards FLs, Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) was used as a framework to investigate attitudes, as attitudes affect motivation. While there is much literature on attitudes towards FLs (Artamonova, 2020; Drewelow 2011, Knouse et al., 2021) and motivation towards learning a second language (Dörnyei, 2009; Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2013; Kormos & Csizér, 2008; Lightbown & Spada, 2018; Ushioda & Dörnyei, 2012), there is insufficient research on Dörnyei’s L2MSS being used to investigate FLs or used to investigate a United States learning context, creating a gap in previous literature which this study sought to address. A case study of a high school’s FL program in Western Pennsylvania was conducted using survey research from 193 FL students and interviews with three FL teachers to obtain what secondary students’ attitudes are toward FLs. The findings are that American secondary students who took a FL possess an ideal self who knows another language, an ideal L2 self who goes abroad, an ought-to L2 school self, a perceived ought-to self for the popularity and utility of the language, and the idea that learning a FL is interesting.



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