Attitudes and Motivation of Igbo L2 learners of English

Academic Paper, 2017

5 Pages



Nigerian learners of English as the second language do better in written as compared to when they speak. Mainly, their pronunciations do not rhyme with what they write. Thus, the focus of this research paper is to propose the need to analyze the attitudes and motivation of Igbo natives to learn English as their second Language. The proposal takes into account the definitions of related terms, the literature review that surrounds second language learning and the various factors that affect the same across the world, as well as the methods that are intended to be used to establish the outcome of the study. In its conclusion, the paper summarizes the reasons for the choice of topic and methods of collecting and analyzing data, as well as the potential outcome.

1.0 Introduction

The literal prowess of written and spoken English is the ultimate goal of any non-native person seeking to learn the language. Unfortunately, the learning process is quite challenging such that in some instances, learners’ results show a disconnection between written and spoken English. For Igbo L2 learners of English in Nigeria, the written aspect is better performed than the articulation thereof in spoken aspects. Therefore, the urge for many Igbo people to learn English poses the question of what exactly motivates them and shapes their attitudes towards English and not any other language. The knowledge acquired on these posed queries is essential in filling the written to spoken English gap between the Igbo, and the findings can be applied in enhancing second language comprehension in other setups. Notably, it is on the given basis that this paper proposes the research on the motivation and attitude of Igbo L2 learners of English.

2.0 Literature Review

Most non-native speakers, especially in Africa and Asian continents do well in writing than when they pronounce those particular words. An important aspect to note is that the scope to which a person efficiently acquires the best levels of a second language is highly dependent on various factors. Some of these elements include attitudes towards the natives of the language he/she is to learn, ethnocentric aspects, the kind of induction given in learning the language, as well as intrinsic motivation (Lambert, 2007). Lambert established that contributing elements to one’s learning of a second language could be categorized into two. The first group comprises cognitive aspects, which is primarily made up of intelligence. The second class is the affective factors such as motivation and attitude. Review by Gardner (2011) illustrates motivation as the vastness to which one strives to learn, coupled with a level of satisfaction on achieving the knowledge of the language.

In a lingual experiment considering students, Ghazhvini (2011) sought to know whether they would prefer to be unilingual or bilingual. The unilingual factor was rejected wholly, depicting the urge for a bilingual identity in students, which gives rise to the satisfaction of having an L2 advantage. In more in-depth review, the researchers discovered that the student's motivation was either integrative or instrumental. The integrative motivation emanates from the desire to be a representative of the L2 language while helpful motivation came in psychologically with the desire to gain a social or economic advantage, wholly based on the fact that the learning process lacks meaning in the absence of an identified advantage that it may give (Youssef, 2012). Instrumental motivation is also characterized by one’s desire to learn L2 languages for improvement of utilitarian benefits such as power, career advancement and financial remuneration gains (Johnson, 2011). Motivation does not necessarily require the application of a single aspect for it to be effective as it can be a combination of both the instrumental and integral features to earn proper effects and can vary among students (Cook, 2011).

In the University of Bergen, over 100 students underwent a scrutiny on enrolment to lingual classes. The results showed that Asians and African students portrayed more effective motivation than the European counterparts (Svanes, 2014). Integrative motivation proved that sex is not an influencing factor in motivation to a great extend. However, men showed pronounced instrumentalism than women in these classes. South American students depicted in the results that they learned more on instrumentalism as motivating than the North American counterparts. In brevity, the causative factors for South Americans, Asians, and Africans to take an L2 were work-related elements and acceptability or the need to fit in (Soku et al., 2011).

Consequently, it is notable from the literature that the motivation behind L2 language learning is the need to feel accepted and the urge to gain a comparative advantage, but this can be based on geographical areas. L2 knowledge can be additive or subtractive based on emotions. Most of the literature reviewed is indicative of motivation as being overly used to establish aspects of L2 than the approach of attitudes. The element of sex and utilitarian achievements also manifests. However, these are based on studies in Europe and America with no review undertaken geographically in Nigeria or Africa as a continent.

3.0 Research Questions

3.1 What is the motivation for learning English as a second language for Igbo native speakers?

3.2 How do the learners’ learning styles affect their attitudes towards learning English?

3.3 What causes disconnection between Igbo natives written and spoke English knowledge?

4.0 Conceptual Framework

The research shall follow the Spolsky's model in seeking to establish its findings. Below is the model.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

5.0 Methodology

5.1 Population and sampling

The population under study consists of students from East Nigeria who are of Igbo native. The gender factor is evenly distributed among the 150 students selected for the study with 72 male and 78 female students. Therefore, the best method to collect data from this heterogeneous population will mean the application of stratified random sampling (Cochran, 2007).

5.2 Data Analysis

Application of Gardner’s Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) (Heidari, 2013) will be used in complementation to administering a questionnaire that is on a five-point scale, ranging from Strongly Accepted to Strongly Unacceptable. The reason for choosing these methods is that they exhibit reliability and the results are valid (Bryman, 2015). Further analysis of the data collected will be through Statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS). The choice to use this package was based on merit criteria, including easy data importation on a simple click which saves time, it has the capability to compare metadata, as well as minimize data duplication and errors related to formula.

5.3 Ethics and Safety

The research will involve interaction with Igbo people and mostly students. Social interactions are bound to have challenges with regard to the differences in culture and beliefs, meaning that misunderstandings that may be taken as provocation or disrespectfulness may arise (MacKay and Gass, 2015). In this regard, translators shall be involved so as not to flout ethics (Derwing et al., 2014).


Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford university press.

Cochran, W. G. (2007). Sampling techniques. John Wiley & Sons.

Derwing, T. M., Fraser, H., Kang, O., & Thomson, R. I. (2014). L2 accent and ethics: Issues that merit attention. In English’s in Multilingual Contexts (pp. 63-80). Springer Netherlands.

Gardner, R. C. (2011). On The Validity of Affective Variables in Second Language Acquisition: Conceptual, Contextual and Statistical Considerations. Language Learning.

Ghazvini, S. D., & Khajehpour, M. (2011). Attitudes and Motivation in learning English as Second Language in high school students. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 1209-1213.

Lambert, W. (2007). Psychological Approaches to the Study of Language. Modern Language Journal.

Hashemian, M., & Heidari, A. (2013). The relationship between L2 learners’ motivation/attitude and success in L2 writing. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70, 476-489.

Mackey, A., & Gass, S. M. (2015). Second language research: Methodology and design. Routledge.

Soku, D., Simpeh, K. N., & Osafo-Adu, M. (2011). Students’ attitudes towards the study of English and French in a private university setting in Ghana. Journal of Education and Practice, 2 (9), 19-30.

Svanes, B. (2014). Motivational and cultural distance in second- language acquisition. Language Learning.

Youssef, A. M. S. (2012). Role of motivation and attitude in introduction and learning of English as a foreign language in Libyan high schools. International Journal of Linguistics.


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Attitudes and Motivation of Igbo L2 learners of English
The University of Memphis
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attitudes, motivation, igbo, english
Quote paper
Dr. Amos Wesonga (Author), 2017, Attitudes and Motivation of Igbo L2 learners of English, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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