College English learners' discursive motivation construction in China

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19 Citations (Scopus)


There are abundant studies of second/foreign language learning motivation. However, there appears to be insufficient research into how language learners’ discourses mediate the construction of their learning/motivation. This paper investigated the discursive construction of two English language learners’ motivation in a comprehensive university in the People’s Republic of China. Employing a critical discourse analysis framework, this paper illustrated how learner motivation was discursively constructed in the constant interaction between the individual and the social environment, and through a complex process involving learners’ interpersonal relationships, their imaginative projections about the future, and an alignment with social discourses. The paper argues for more discourse-based studies that view motivation as a social and historical construct dynamically emerging from individual learners’ interaction with contextual conditions and construed in learners’ language in use. This paper starts by locating this study within the L2 motivation literature and then provides an interpretation of the interview and diary study texts in light of the sociocultural context where the investigation occurred. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


Gu, M. (2009). College English learners' discursive motivation construction in China. System, 37(2), 300-312.


  • English learning
  • Motivation
  • Identity
  • Discourse
  • China


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