Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

McPherron, Paul


The term motivation has been the key for several research studies in language learning since Gardner and Lambert (1972) introduced the term to the field; however, the term did not go beyond the two types instrumental and integrative. Several studies were built over these terms, but none of them has explicitly investigated the motivation for learning Arabic language as a foreign language in the USA. Arabic is one of the languages where motivation for learning in the USA is increasing, thus came this study to investigate the reasons and orientations i.e. initial motivation for learning Arabic and if the materials presented during a period of a semester affected the students' motivation. The main aim of this study was to explore the orientations of U.S. students at a public mid-western college to learn the Arabic language through a class research design. The obtained results showed that the participants were attracted to learn Arabic for personal development reasons such as understanding a different culture, understand the world and travel to an Arab country. A sub group of the participants were instructors and administrative stuff at an Intensive English Program at the school who wanted to learn Arabic for new academic reasons; they wanted to learn Arabic because it provides helpful techniques and knowledge for the TESL teachers and instructors to facilitate their teaching English as a second language for Arabic native speakers in the US. The study found that the US students in the university were more communication oriented in their learning and that they have shown a great interest in conversing with Arabic speakers and building friendships with them. The study has reinforced the direction of expanding the motivation in language learning scope and developed the classic integrative- instrumental dichotomy with the addition of a social motivation component. The students showed a huge interest in learning Arabic to socialize and build new relationships with individual native Arabic speakers. The study participants' development of the orientations for learning Arabic to sustained motivation was reinforced with the use of the class materials, mainly the textbook. The use of the textbook and the motivation of the students made it clear that the US students were highly concerned more about the communicative aspect of the language.




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