Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Alzayid, Ali


Since the work of Gardener and his associates in the 1950s, the role of motivation in learning a second language has continued to interest researchers. Previous studies on L2 motivation, were largely based on product oriented models of motivation, which tends to view motivation as a static phenomenon. Recently, however, there has been a shift in emphasis from a study of L2 motivation as a product to its study as a process. The methodological framework of this study was based on Dörnyei and Otto's (1998) Process Model of L2 Motivation. This model proposed that the construct of motivation is not static and changing in nature and influenced by many internal and external factors during learning process. The previous studies that analyzed the motivational variables in the Saudi EFL settings have not investigated the temporal nature of motivation in L2 learning. Using qualitative methodology, the current study aimed to investigate how motivation in English L2 learning changed over time for Saudi students. The participants were seven Saudi students at a mid-western University in the U.S. They had all first begun learning English in Saudi Arabia and had later come to the U.S to pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies. The participants were interviewed on an individual basis using a semi-structured interview format. They also completed a language history questionnaire. The transcripts of the audio-recorded interviews were analyzed using the tools of thematic analysis. Specifically, the participants' oral narratives were analyzed for emerging themes and patterns relating to the development of their motivation for English language learning. The results of this study revealed the temporal and changing nature of motivation in learning English for Saudi students. The emerging themes/patterns related to motivational fluctuations included the learning environment, the role of teacher, economic factor, standardized English tests (e.g. TOEFL and IELTS) and the role of an effective person in enhancing or ceasing the motivational abilities of students learning English. The thesis concluded by discussing implications for future work in this interesting area of research.




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