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Judit Kormos and Kata Csizér : Family effects on the motivation to learn a foreign language: lessons from a qualitative study

It is undeniable that parents influence students’ choice, as well as their learning, of a foreign language. Little is known, however, about how parents exert their influence the process of foreign language learning, i.e. how they help and motivate their child, or what role other family members, e.g. grandparents and siblings play. The study presented here aimed at identifying the role of family in foreign language learning, and, more specifically, in eliciting and maintaining motivation to learn a foreign language. Data were collected from interviews with 21 learners of English and 19 learners of German, all Hungarian students in grade 8. One of the most important results of the study is the support found with qualitative methods for claims established by former quantitative studies regarding the great importance of the family in language learning. Most families undertake a significant role in eliciting and maintaining students’ motivation. It is mostly a family decision what language the child should learn, and thus the family partly defines the aim of language learning as well. The family presents values to children, helping them to understand the importance of language learning. Many parents aim to provide contact with native speakers and the opportunity to use the foreign language in real life, non-classroom situations.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 105. Number 1. 19-40. (2005)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kormos Judit, H-1112 Budapest, Nagyszalonta u. 41; Csizér Kata, H-1025 Budapest, Batyu út 23.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia