Community presence, motivation, and identity
The Community-engaged L2 Self of university students of Italian in Melbourne
This study examines the extent to which the motivation of university students of Italian in Melbourne (Australia) is influenced by the visibility of a local Italian community. The research relies on data collected by open-ended questions and two Likert items from a survey study (n = 74) as well as in-depth interviews (n = 5). The findings show that learners’ motivation is influenced by their exposure to the L2 language and culture in the local context and by their engagement with a community that forms part of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse population. Students’ investment in the L2 can be interpreted in light of a new identity dimension, the community-engaged L2 self, which builds upon previous motivational variables (integrative orientation, ideal L2 self), as well as scholarly insights into the link between language, identity, and access to L2 resources. This self-characterizes both heritage and non-heritage learners’ positioning through the L2 in the local socio-context and is expected to hold considerable pedagogical significance.
Keywords: motivation, L2 community, community language learning, community-engaged L2 self, Italian in Australia
Published online: 23 April 2021
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