Zheng, Yongyan, Xiuchuan Lu, & Wei Ren (2020, November). Tracking the evolution of Chinese learners’ multilingual motivation through a longitudinal Q methodology. Modern Language Journal, 104(4), 781-803. (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12672) (Link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/modl.12672)

Abstract: This study uses a Q methodology to track the changing motivational profiles of 15 Chinese university students simultaneously engaged in second‐language (L2) English and third‐language (L3) Spanish learning over 1.5 years. Guided by complex dynamic systems theory (CDST), the study aims to investigate the initial trigger that propelled the Chinese learners to engage in intensive L3 learning and to chart the different routes of multilingual self‐development. Over the 1.5 years, Q sort tasks were administered at 3 time points, and retrospective interviews elicited data to complement the Q sort analysis. A nonspecific multilingual posture was found to be the initial trigger for voluntary investment in intensive L3 learning. A motivational profile with a dominating translingual and transcultural orientation develops into either more constitutive ideal multilingual selves or more language‐specific integrative ideal selves, continuously exerting motivational forces. Another profile, which has a dominating instrumental orientation, generates diminishing motivational forces. We argue that different aspects of multilingual learning motivation may be operating in parallel through correlative associations in the holistic, dynamic, and relational system of multilingual self. The article concludes by discussing pedagogical implications for learning and teaching multiple foreign languages for university students.

Yongyan Zheng <yongyanzheng@fudan.edu.cn> is in the English Department, and Xiuchuan Lu <uxc@fudan.edu.cn> is in the Spanish Department, College of Foreign Languages and Literature, Fudan University, Shanghai; and Wei Ren <weiren@buaa.edu.cn> is in the School of Foreign Languages, Beihang University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

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