Mainland students learning English in Hong Kong: Does place-of-origin affect motivation?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There have been a multiplicity of studies investigating motivation generally, but research has been MCant on how certain individual differences like place of birth impact the second language learning pattern. This study focuses on how place of birth can impact motivation to learn English. This subject is particularly important in the Hong Kong MChool context, as the main student population generally originates from only two places: Hong Kong and Mainland China. Indeed, the population of the latter is highly prominent in certain areas of Hong Kong. Thus, an investigation into the relationship between differing places of birth and motivation to learn English within this group may yield benefits for everyone. If so, the implication is that changes in current teaching and learning practices (based on the adopted motivational theory) could enhance Mainland students' motivation to learn English – while also helping them better adjust to, and integrate into, their new learning environment in Hong Kong. This study, which adopts a modified version of the motivation framework proposed by Dörnyei (1998), examines whether students from Hong Kong or Mainland China have different motivation patterns while learning English in Hong Kong. Both questionnaire and students interviews serve as main sources of data. The overarching result is that while studying English in Hong Kong, Hong Kong students have stronger motivation than Mainland China students. However, further statistical results show variations within this general result. Copyright © 2010 TESOL Journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-129
JournalThe TESOL Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Hong Kong
learning environment


Wong, R. M. H. (2010). Mainland students learning English in Hong Kong: Does place-of-origin affect motivation? The TESOL Journal, 2, 109-129.


  • Motivation to learn
  • English
  • Chinese immigrants
  • Dörnyei
  • Hong Kong