Psychological Studies

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 292–301 | Cite as

A Dörnyei-Inspired Study on Second Language Motivation: A Cross-Comparison Analysis in Public and Private Contexts

  • Afsaneh GhanizadehEmail author
  • Soroor Rostami
Research in Progress


Dörnyei’s L2 (second language) Motivational Self System and his landmark study on individual differences in language learning (2005) stimulated lines of research seeking to validate the model in different countries and cultures. The present study takes the initiative to test Dörnyei’s model in two strikingly different milieus of language learning − public vs. private − which diverge in various respects such as learning objectives, teaching approaches and methods, the extent of volition over attendance, age of attendants, and teacher and learner roles. Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self System measuring ten factors was employed to inform the present research. A total of 905 learners, 413 high school students and 492 institute EFL learners completed the Persian version of Dörnyei’s questionnaire. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was run to analyze the models of motivation in the two contexts. The results indicated that in the public context of Iran the model (Model 1) did not demonstrate a good fit with the empirical data; nevertheless, in the private context of Iran the model (Model 2) displayed a good fit. To pinpoint the discrepancies observed in the two models, each individual path indicating the causal relationships was analyzed in depth. In particular, it was revealed that the predictive role of attitudes to L2 culture in ideal L2 self was not confirmed in Model 1; whereas, it was demonstrated in Model 2. In Model 1, it was found that instrumentality promotion has a weak impact on ideal L2 self. In Model 2, on the other hand, the results indicated that instrumentality promotion is a strong predictor of ideal L2 self. The contribution of ideal L2 self to attitudes and to criterion measure was demonstrated. The magnitude of these associations, nevertheless, was higher in the second model. The positive impact of ought-to L2 self on criterion measure was also verified in both models. Unlike the previous paths, this association was outweighed in Model 1. The role of instrumentality prevention in ought-to L2 self was verified in Model 1 but not in Model 2. The discussion and implications of the findings are presented with reference to these findings.


L2 Motivational Self system Public context Private context Structural equation modeling 


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishImam Reza International UniversityMashhadIran
  2. 2.Imam Reza International UniversityMashhadIran

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