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The Case for Language Learning

The Guardian recently posted an article about what motivates a person to learn a new language. In Lauren Razavi’s  “Language learning:  what motivates us?,” John Schumann, a linguistics professor at UCLA’s Department of Applied Linguistics, and member of the Neurobiology of Language Research Group, posits that  “for over 50 years, two terms have categorized motivation in language learning: integrative and instrumental.  Integrative motivation is the motivation to learn a language in order to get to know, to be with, to interact with and perhaps become like the speakers of the target language.  Instrumental motivation is language learning for more pragmatic or practical purposes…such as fulfilling a school requirement, getting a job, getting a promotion in that job, or being able to deal with customers.  For English speakers, the focus must be on the cultural and social benefits of learning languages – on the symptoms of integrative motivation, which go beyond employment prospects and good grades.”

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