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Language Learning 55:4, December 2005, pp. 613-659
Language Learners` Motivational ProIiles and
Their Motivated Learning Behavior
Kata Csi:er Etvs
Universitv, Budapest
Zoltan Drnvei
Universitv of Nottingham
The aim oI the present study is to deIine and describe
second language (L2) learners` motivational proIiles by
means oI a statistical procedure that is relatively rarely
used in L2 studies: cluster analysis. To achieve this aim, 5
broad dimensions oI students` motivational and attitudi-nal
dispositions toward 5 diIIerent L2s were measured and
analyzed, using survey data collected Irom 8,593 13- and
14-year-old Hungarian pupils on 2 occasions. Statistical
calculations yielded 4 distinct motivational groups, and we
interpret this classiIication within Drnyei`s L2
Motivational SelI System. In the second part oI the study
we examine the combined eIIects and interIerences oI the
diIIerent motivational proIiles learners hold with regard to 2
diIIerent target languages, English and German.
Individual-diIIerence (ID) research in second language (L2)
studies has typically aimed at identiIying dimensions oI enduring
language learner characteristics relevant to the mastery oI an L2
that are assumed to apply to everybody and on which people
diIIer by degree (Drnyei, 2005). Most research eIIort in
Kata Csizer, Department oI English Applied Linguistics; Zoltan Drnyei,
School oI English Studies.
This article was completed as part oI the OTKA T047111 project.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kata Csizer,
2030 Erd, Lakatos u. 44, Hungary. Internet:

the past has been expended on exploring the L2 impact oI iso-
lated ID variables such as language aptitude, L2 motivation, or
learning styles. To achieve this, researchers have usually admi-
nistered selI-report questionnaires to language learners and then
processed the data by means oI complex statistical procedures
such as correlation and Iactor analyses, analysis oI variance, and
structural equation modeling. Although studies conducted in this
vein have helped us to understand the nature oI various cognitive
and aIIective Iactors, past research has been less inIormative about
how the diIIerent Iactors are combined in learners to achieve
speciIic learner tvpes. We know Irom personality psychology that
certain basic personality types or proIiles do exist: The best evidence
Ior this is the validity oI the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI),
which is the most widely employed personality test in the world,
designed to categorize people into distinct personality types. Peter
Skehan (1991) has argued that we are likely to Iind diIIerent
learner types in the L2 context as well, made up oI various abilities
and personality characteristics that contribute to the successIul
mastery oI an L2.
This study is based on the application oI a multivariate
statistical procedure, cluster analvsis, which is particularly useIul
in distinguishing various learner proIiles. Even though this
analytical technique can potentially oIIer both theoretical and
practical insights into a wide range oI issues within L2 acquisi-
tion, it has been used surprisingly rarely in past research: Even a
thorough literature review will not detect more than a handIul oI
relevant recent studies (cI. Kojic-Sabo & Lightbown, 1999;
Skehan, 1986; Yamamori, Isoda, Hiromori, & OxIord, 2003), and
as Alexander and Murphy (1999) demonstrate, the situation is no
diIIerent in the broader Iield oI educational psychology. The
objective oI cluster analysis is to identiIy within a given sample
certain subgroupsor clustersoI participants who share similar
combinations oI characteristics. The rationale Ior using the
procedure in L2 studies is the observation that in spite oI the large
number oI Iactors that shape L2 learning success, within a
community oI L2 learners there appear to be a smaller number
oI distinct subcommunities who share similar cognitive and
motivational patterns. As mentioned above, indirect conIirmation
Ior this in personality psychology has been provided by the
MBTI, which divides people into a relatively rough grouping oI
as Iew as 16 basic personality types that appears to work
remarkably well (cI. Leaver, Ehrman, & Shekhtman, 2005). This
would suggest that it is a realistic expectation to uncover a Iew
archetypal patterns in L2-related ID Iactors as well, and cluster
analysis oIIers a theoretically valid and practically sound
technique Ior achieving this: It enables researchers to reassert the
relative value oI various ID variables within complex conIig-
urations in speciIic learner contexts, thereby allowing Ior the
study oI social models oI learning and instruction (Alexander &
Murphy, 1999).
We must also point out, however, that similarly to Iactor
analysis, cluster analysis is an exploratorv technique whereby the
computer uncovers various grouping patterns based on the
mathematical conIigurations Iound in the learner data. OI course,
the computer cannot interpret the content oI the diIIerent
variables, and thereIore in order to use the technique mean-
ingIully, researchers need to be careIul to keep the analysis on
sound theoretical Iooting and to substantiate the emerging learner
proIiles by means oI various validating procedures. Alexander
and Murphy (1999) mention one procedure that is particularly
appropriate Ior substantiating results in educational contexts that
involves using an external criterion variable to Iunction as an
independent indicator oI cluster group diIIerences. Broadly
speaking, iI the identiIied learner subcommunities perIorm
signiIicantly diIIerently on the given criterion measure, this
conIirms the validity oI the particular grouping solution. The
Iocus in our study has been on proIiling the motivational
disposition oI teenage L2 learners in Hungary, and in doing so we
applied a theoretical construct that had been developed on the
basis oI a consistent line oI research; Iurthermore, we also
identiIied two important L2 criterion measuresthe learners`
intended effort to learn the L2 and their choice of the
Csi:er and Drnvei Language Learning 615 614 Jol. 55, No. 4

L2 (s) to studyIor validating the obtained motivational cluster
proIiles. In accordance with Skehan`s (1991) prediction that
there are certain conIigurations oI learner traits that are more
than the mere sum oI the cumulative contributions oI the number
oI ID constituents, we will show that exploring salient patterns in
the motivational disposition oI L2 learners is a IruitIul research
direction that can shed meaningIul light on the reality oI L2
The Second Language Motivation Construct Applied in Our
It is universally accepted that motivation plays a vital role in
academic learning in general, and this is particularly true oI the
sustained process oI mastering an L2. Because oI the complex
nature oI 'language, L2 motivation has been conceptualized as a
multiIaceted construct that comprises a number oI more general,
trait-like and more situation-speciIic, state-like components (Ior
reviews, see Clement & Gardner, 2001; Drnyei, 2001; Gardner,
1985; Maclntyre, 2002; Noels, 2001; Ushioda, 2003). In a recent
overview oI the Iield, Drnyei (2005) proposed a new approach to
the understanding oI L2 motivation, conceived within an L2 moti-
vational selI system, which attempts to integrate a number oI
inIluential theoretical L2 approaches with Iindings in 'selI
research in psychology. The central theme oI this new conception is
the equation oI the motivational dimension that has traditionally
been interpreted as 'integrativeness/integrative motivation with
the 'ideal L2 selI. The latter reIers to the L2-speciIic Iacet oI one`s
'ideal selI, which is the representation oI all the attributes that a
person would like to possess (e.g., hopes, aspirations, desires):
II one`s ideal selI is associated with the mastery oI an L2, that is,
iI the person that we would like to become is proIicient in the L2,
he/she can be describedusing Gardner`s (1985) terminologyas
having an 'integrative disposition.
Following the work oI Higgins (1987, 1998), Drnyei (2005)
has proposed the existence oI another possible selI dimension as
well, the 'ought-to L2 selI, which concerns the more extrinsic
(i.e., less internalized) types oI instrumental motives: This selI-
guide reIers to the attributes that one believes one ought to
possess (i.e., various duties, obligations, or responsibilities) and
that thereIore may bear little resemblance to one`s own desires or
wishes. Although ideal and ought-to selves are similar to each
other in that they are both related to the attainment oI a desired
end state, Higgins (1998) emphasizes that the predilections
associated with the two types oI Iuture selves are motivationally
distinct Irom each other: Ideal selI-guides have a promotion
Iocus, concerned with hopes, aspirations, advancements, growth,
and accomplishments, whereas ought selI-guides have a
prevention Iocus, regulating the absence or presence oI negative
outcomes, concerned with saIety, responsibilities, and obligations.
Thus, Irom a 'selI perspective, L2 motivation can be seen as the
desire to reduce the perceived discrepancies between the learner`s
actual selI and his or her ideal and ought-to L2 selves.
Db`rnyei`s L2 Motivational SelI System also contains a third
major dimension oI the L2 motivation complex labeled 'L2 learning
experience, which concerns executive motives related to the
immediate learning environment and experience. Because oI the
methodological characteristics oI our research (outlined below),
this dimension has not been addressed in this study. The current
investigation is a Iollow-up to Drnyei and Csizer`s (2002) and
Csizer and Drnyei`s (2005) analysis oI the data obtained Irom a
large-scale (N ~ 8,500) repeated stratiIied national survey oI 13-
and 14-year-old schoolchildren in Hungary. In this survey we
assessed attitudes toward Iive target languagesEnglish,
German, French, Italian, and Russianand in order to obtain
comparable measures Irom the large number oI diIIerent loca-
tions Irom all over the country, we needed to Iocus on motiva-
tional variables that were generalizable across various learning
situations. Thus, the study reported in this article does not
involve situation-speciIic motives that are rooted in the L2
learners` immediate learning environment; instead we will be
616 Language Learning Jol. 55, No. 4 617 Csi:er and Drnvei

targeting more stable and generalized motives that stem Irom a
succession oI the students` past experiences in the social world.
Our previous research has established that Hungarian L2
learners` generalized motives can be described well in terms oI
seven components (Ior a detailed discussion oI how these dimen-
sions were identiIied, see Drnyei & Csizer, 2002): The relevant
Cronbach`s alpha coeIIicients, along with the number oI items
making up the scale, will be provided Ior each scale and lan-
guage (Ior the sake oI brevity, only the statistics Ior 1999 are
listed; Ior statistics concerning the previous occasion, that is, data
Ior 1993, see Drnyei & Csizer, 2002).
Integrativeness, which, similarly to Gardner`s (1985)
category, reIlects a general positive outlook on the L2 and
its culture, to the extent that learners scoring high on this
Iactor would like to communicate with and might even want to
become similar to the L2 speakers (three items; English
.72; German .78; French .77; Italian .79; Russian
Instrumentalitv, which reIers to the perceived pragmatic
beneIits oI L2 proIiciency, corresponding to Gardner`s (1985)
category (Iour items; English .80; German .78; French .76;
Italian .78; Russian .78).
Attitudes toward L2 speakers, which concerns attitudes toward
having direct contact with L2 speakers and traveling to their
country (three items; English/US .71; English/UK .74;
German .77; French .77; Italian .77; Russian .75).
Cultural interest (or 'indirect contact), which reIlects the
appreciation oI cultural products associated with the particular
L2 and conveyed by the media (e.g., Iilms, television programs,
magazines, and popular music) (Iour items; English/ US
.67; English/UK .76; German .71; French .75; Italian
.77; Russian .77).
Jitalitv of L2 communitv, which, Iollowing the initial concep-
tualization in Giles and Byrne`s (1982) 'intergroup model,
concerns the perceived importance and wealth oI the L2
communities in question (two items; English/US .62;
English/UK .66; German .62; French .65; Italian .63;
Russian .55).
Milieu, which relates to the general perception oI the
importance oI Ioreign languages in the learners` immediate
environment (e.g., in the school context and in Iriends` and
parents` views) (Iour items; Cronbach`s alpha .61).
Linguistic self-confidence, which reIlects a conIident,
anxiety-Iree belieI that the mastery oI an L2 is well within
the learner`s means (three items; Cronbach`s alpha .48).
We have Iound (Csizer and Drnyei, 2005) that the two
criterion measures included in our surveythe learners` intended
learning eIIort and language choice preIerencewere directly
aIIected by Integrativeness (or as we relabeled it, the Ideal L2
self), which was in turn determined by two antecedent variables,
Instrumentalitv and Attitudes toward L2 speakers. The
contribution oI all the other variables to the criterion measures
was mediated by these Iactors. As discussed brieIly earlier, in our
current research we will shiIt the Iocus Irom the actual
motivational variables to the learners who possess them and will
Iirst examine (a) whether we can Iind distinct learner types in
terms oI their motivational proIiles, and iI so, (b) how these
distinct patterns aIIect motivated learning behaviors. We will then
analyze whether a learner`s motivational proIile associated with a
particular L2 is inIluenced by the same learner`s disposition
toward other possible target languages, that is, whether
dispositions toward diIIerent L2s interIere with each other and
aIIect the learner`s ultimate motivation. As Iar as we know, these
research topics are novel in the L2 Iield, since we
Jol. 55, No. 4 618 Language Learning Csi:er and Drnvei 619
620 Language Learning Jol. 55, No. 4
are not aware oI any past research that has examined motivational
types and the possible impact oI L2 interIerence on L2
The participants in our survey were 4,765 pupils (2,377
males; 2,305 Iemales; 83 with missing gender data) in 1993 and
3,828 pupils (1,847 males; 1,907 Iemales; 74 with missing gender
data) in 1999. They were all ages 13 or 14 and attended the Iinal
(8th) grade oI the primary school system (see Table 1). We
selected this population in 1993 because at that time this was the
most mature age group in the Hungarian educational system that
studied within a more or less homogenous curricular and
organizational Iramework (i.e., the national primary school sys-
tem): AIter the age oI 14, pupils were oIIered a range oI diIIerent
secondary educational paths, some oI which concluded when the
students reached 16, the upper age limit oI compulsory education.
ThereIore, by sampling students Irom this cohort, we did not need
to be concerned with the modiIying inIluences oI various
specialized secondary school types. At the same time, these
learners were in the Iinal year oI their primary school studies and
were just about to make the decision about which type oI
secondary education to choose Ior their Iurther studies and which
Ioreign language to study during the subsequent years. This lent
particular relevance and validity to our question concerning
language choice.
In selecting the locations oI the survey, we Iollowed a strat-
iIied sampling approach, trying to sample students evenly Irom
each main region and type oI settlement, while also including a
balanced mixture oI places Irequented and places not Irequented
by tourists. In order to ensure the compatibility oI the samples in
the two surveys, almost all the 1999 locations coincided with the

1993 ones (the decrease oI the size oI the sample in 1999 is
largely due to the decline in the birth rate that Hungary had been
experiencing). Thus, our study is an example oI a repeated cross-
sectional design, consisting oI two surveys, one conducted at the
beginning oI 1993, and the other taking place during the last Iew
months oI the decade. Because the target population in both
phases was exactly the same (and the sampling oI the
participating schools was also almost identical), the project can be
considered longitudinal in nature (cI. Keeves, 1994; Menard,
1991), thereby allowing us to directly compare the results and
analyze the changes that took place during the six-and-a-halI-
year interval between the two phases.
The questionnaire was speciIically designed Ior the purpose
oI the surveys. It consisted oI 37 items, using 5-point rating
scales, assessing various student attitudes toward Iive target
languages (English, German, French, Italian, and Russian) and
toward six L2 communities (the United States, the United
Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia), and also asking
about various aspects oI the students` language learning envi-
ronment and background. In order to ensure that the instrument
had appropriate psychometric properties, the items we used were
adopted Irom established motivation questionnaires (some oI
which had been speciIically developed to be used in Hungary), with
suIIicient validity and reliability coeIIicients (e.g., Clement,
Drnyei, & Noels, 1994; Drnyei, 1990; Gardner, 1985). Because
21 oI the 37 items Iocused on more than one L2 or L2 community
(in a grid Iormat), even this relatively short instrument yielded a
total oI 139 variables. In order to make the comparison oI the
obtained data possible, the same instrument was used in both
phases oI the project.
The main variable groups in the questionnaire were as
Iollows (with the total number oI items given in parentheses):
Items concerning the Iive target languages (5-point rating
Orientations, that is, the students` various reasons Ior
learning a given language (5 items).
Attitudes toward the L2 (2 items).
Intended effort, that is, the amount oI eIIort the student was
willing to put into learning the given language (1 item).
Parents language proficiencv (2 items).
Items concerning the six target language communities (5-point rating
Attitudes toward the L2 communitv, that is, the extent to
which students Ielt positively toward the particular country
and its citizens (2 items), and the international importance
they attached to this community (2 items). Britain and the
United States were mentioned separately to explore diIIer-
ences in the evaluations oI the two communities, in spite oI
their common language (reIerred to in this study, where
relevant, as English/UK and English/US).
Contact with the L2 and its speakers, which assessed both
the quantity (2 items) and the quality (5 items) oI the contact
(e.g., watching L2 TV programs, meeting tourists).
Non-language-speciIic Likert scales (5-point scales):
Attitudes toward L2 learning at school (1 item).
Contact with foreign languages through watching satellite
TV (1 item).
Fear of assimilation, that is, the extent to which students
believed that learning and using the Ioreign language might
lead to the loss oI the native language and culture (1 item).
Self-confidence in L2 learning and use (3 items).
622 Language Learning Jol. 55, No. 4 Csi:er and Drnvei 623

Language learning milieu, that is, the extent oI the par-
ents` support oI (1 item) and the Iriends` attitudes toward (1
item) L2 learning.
Background questions (open-ended and multiple-choice items):
Language choice. Students were asked to name three
languages they were intending to learn in the next school
year (1 item).
Personal variables, such as the student`s sex and language
learning background (7 items).
As described in the introduction, the learner responses have
been used to compute seven broad motivational dimensions, Iive
oI them speciIic to the various target languages/ language
communities examined: Integrativeness, Instrumentalitv, Jitalitv
of the communitv, Attitudes toward L2 speakers, and Cultural
interest. Two dimensions, Self-confidence and Milieu, were
assessed in a non-L2-speciIic manner and will not be included in
the current analysis because our investigation speciIically
Iocuses on motivational proIiles speciIic to certain L2s and their
interIerences. This exclusion is justiIiable on the basis oI the
results oI Csizer and Drnyei (2005), which showed that the
impact oI Self-confidence and Milieu on the criterion measures
was almost entirely subsumed or mediated by the other Iive
motivational dimensions. With regard to the psychometric
properties oI the instrument, the mean Cronbach`s alpha internal
consistency reliability coeIIicient oI the Iive scales Ior the six L2
communities in the two survey phases (i.e., 56 coeIIicients) was
.70, which is acceptable Ior such short scales.
Data Collection
Data collection was conducted in a similar way in 1993 and
1999. On both occasions, we Iirst approached the selected schools
through an oIIicial letter Irom Eb`tvos University, Budapest
(which hosted the project), providing inIormation about the pur-
pose oI the survey and details oI the actual administration oI the
questionnaires. Once permission was granted by the principal oI a
particular school, we contacted the Iorm masters oI the selected
classes individually, asking Ior their cooperation. The
questionnaires (in Hungarian) were Iilled in during class time; a
representative oI the university was always present at the
administration, providing the introduction and overseeing the
procedure. Answering the questions took the students approxi-
mately 20 min on average.
Data Analvsis
As mentioned earlier, the aim oI cluster analysis is to identiIy
homogenous subgroups within a samplein our case to deIine
learner groups with distinct motivational proIiles. As Kojic-Sabo
and Lightbown (1999) have pointed out in discussing the use oI
cluster analysis in L2 research, iI every participant in a sample
could be characterized by a unique pattern, each one would Iorm a
separate cluster, and there would be as many clusters as students.
On the other hand, iI all students responded to the questionnaire in
exactly the same way, only one cluster would emerge Irom the
analysis. In actual analyses we get a meaningIul result somewhere
between these two extremes.
There are two main types oI cluster analysis, hierarchical
and nonhierarchical clustering. In hierarchical clustering the Iirst
step involves the deIinition oI each sample member as an
individual cluster. Subsequent steps merge the closest clusters
until one single cluster containing all sample members is arrived at.
The procedure might be illustrated by a 'dendogram, which
shows each step oI the process. As a result, the systematic
structure oI the data is provided by showing what subgroups
could be deIined. Nonhierarchical clustering, on the other hand,
Iollows a diIIerent path. During the process, sample members are
put into a predeIined number oI clusters. As a Iirst step,
Jol. 55, No. 4 624 Language Learning
Csi:er and Drnvei 625

the statistical program takes the Iirst n members oI the sample
(where n equals the number oI clusters, which is deIined prior to
the analysis), and sample members closest to these predeIined
centers are assigned to these initial clusters. Then, on the basis oI
the position oI the cluster members, new centers are identiIied,
and sample members are regrouped according to these new
centers. The procedure is repeated until the centers become
stable, that is, they show no change aIter Iurther regrouping.
Both hierarchical and nonhierarchical clustering have their
advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, hierarchical
clustering is diIIicult to apply iI the sample size is too large. On
the other hand, the results oI nonhierarchical clustering are
highly dependent on the initial cluster centers. To avoid these
limitations, clustering is usually done in two stages: First, hier-
archical clustering is carried out on a smaller subsample oI the
sample; in our case a 3 random subsample was selected Ior this
purpose. Based on this Iirst step, the number oI clusters and their
positions (i.e., the initial cluster centers) are deIined, and
subsequently nonhierarchical clustering is perIormed on the
whole sample by inputting the cluster centers received pre-
viously; the procedure oI nonhierarchical clustering is iterated
until stable cluster centers are obtained. We Iollowed this com-
bined method.
Results and Discussion
Definition of Motivational Groups / Profiles
Based on the procedure described above, the Iirst step oI the
data analysis was to subject the language- and country-related
multi-item scales to hierarchical clustering. The procedure pro-
duced dendograms, that is, visual representations oI the steps in
the solutions that showed the clusters being combined and the
values oI the distance coeIIicients at each step. Based on these
dendograms, it was decided to Iollow a Iour-cluster solution in
the subsequent nonhierarchical clustering. This decision-making
process is not unlike the one involved in Iactor analysis when
researchers need to decide the Iinal number oI Iactors in the Iactor
solutions: Although there are no absolute criteria, a combination
oI theoretical and practical considerations can oIIer relatively
good guidelines. In our case we Iollowed a straightIorward and
commonsense grouping approach that resulted in similar groups
Ior all the target languages. The Iour groups, as will be shown
below, showed good discriminant validity with regard to the two
criterion variables against which they were measured. Tables 2a
through 2I describe the Iinal solutions Ior each language by
indicating the means oI the clustering variables in the diIIerent
cluster groups. (For a visual representation oI the clusters, see
Figure 1, which presents results Ior English/ US in 1999.)
As can be seen in Tables 2a-2I, the cluster groups Ior the
diIIerent target languages are largely similar, with only French
and Italian displaying some diIIerences Irom the common trend.
The actual variable mean scores show some variation across
languages, but this does not thwart the group analysis, as each
language has been explored individually.
Group 1 consists oI pupils scoring lower than average on all
the motivational scales concerning the particular language/country;
thereIore, this group has been labeled the least motivated students.
Group 4, on the other hand, is the inverse oI Group 1, as it
contains students who scored higher than average on each and
every scale; accordingly, this group has been labeled the most
motivated students. Because motivational variables and
dimensions are usually intercorrelated, it was to be expected to
have groups characterized by these extreme patterns. The moti-
vational proIiles oI the two in-between groups displayed an intri-
guing conIiguration. Instead oI a homogeneous distribution oI the
variables with only their degree oI endorsement diIIering between
the two groups, a more unusual pattern emerged: For some
variables, Group 3 scores exceeded those oI Group 2, whereas Ior
others, it was the other way around. That is, the
627 Csi:er and Drnvei
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Language Learning Vol. 55, No. 4

Figure 1. Visual representation oI the motivational variables in the Iour
cluster groups Ior English/US (1999).
two groups diIIered not only in terms oI their motivational
intensity but also in terms oI the structure oI their motivational
proIile. BeIore analyzing this qualitative diIIerence and discussing
any L2-speciIic variations, let us examine the validity oI the
grouping by substantiating the results against the criterion
Group Performance on the Criterion Measures
As described earlier, one established way oI substantiating
cluster-analytical results in educational contexts is to use external
criterion variables as independent indicators oI cluster group
diIIerences. Tables 3 and 4 present the mean scores oI the two
criterion measures used in this studythe learners` Intended
effort and Language choiceacross the Iour cluster groups. As
can be seen in the tables, there is a very consistent relationship
between group membership and perIormance level on the criterion
measures: The higher the group number, the higher the
Csi:er and Drnvei 637
perIormance, with the diIIerences reaching statistical signiIicance
in all but one case. Since motivation is by deIinition the
antecedent oI motivated behavior, and our two criterion measures
concern two key aspects oI motivated human behavior, its
direction and its magnitude, this consistent relationship between
the Iour motivational proIiles and the two criterion measures in all
the various L2/L2 community conditions provides a strong case
Ior the validity oI the clustering process.
The Difference Between Groups 2 and 3
The group scores in Tables 3 and 4 unambiguously indicate
that Group 3 had a higher level oI overall motivation than Group 2.
The same conclusion can also be drawn Irom the Iact that the
Integrativeness scores oI Group 3 were signiIicantly higher than
those oI Group 2 in every condition (please recall that Csizer and
Drnyei |2005| Iound that Integrativeness mediated all the other
motivational components and was thereIore equated with the Ideal
L2 self). However, in spite oI the overall superior motivational
level oI Group 3, we Iind that Group 2 students exceed those in
Group 3 on a number oI motivational dimensions. How can we
interpret this seemingly contradictory situation?
Let us start our analysis by taking a closer look at Table 2a,
which describes the results Ior English/US, Iirst, since English is
the most popular L2 in Hungary and this popularity is typically
Iueled by American rather than British associations (Drnyei &
Csizer, 2002). As can be seen in the table, apart Irom
Integrativeness, Group 3 exceeds Group 2 in Instrumentalitv,
whereas Group 2 shows superiority in terms of Attitudes toward
L2 speakers, Cultural interest, and Jitalitv. In describing the L2
Motivational SelI System, Drnyei (2005) has argued that the ideal
L2 selI is composed oI two complementary aspects: In our
idealized image oI ourselves we want to appear personallv agreeable
(associated with positive attitudes toward the L2 community and
culture) and also professionallv successful (associated

with instrumental motives). This dichotomy seems to correspond
to the split between Groups 2 and 3 very well: Group 2 members
are superior on the aIIective side (they have more positive atti-
tudes toward the L2 community and culture), whereas Group 3
members are superior on the pragmatic side (placing more
emphasis oI the incentives oI L2 proIiciency). What is important
Irom our point oI view is that neither group has developed a Iully
Iledged salient L2 language selI (which characterizes Group 4
members), and thereIore analyzing their diIIerences can help us to
understand how the selI system works.
Learners in Group 3 have a powerIul sense oI the proIes-
sional relevance oI L2 proIiciency, but this is not accompanied by a
similarly positive regard toward the L2 culture and community.
This suggests that they have not internalized their proIessional
interest to the extent that it has developed into an ideal language
selI. Indeed, the motivational proIile oI this group appears to be
determined by the ought-to language selI, which is the
counterpart oI the ideal selI in Drnyei`s (2005) system described
earlier. This explains why Group 3 learners are strong on
instrumental motives but much weaker on other attitudinal
aspects and why their overall level oI motivation does not reach
that oI members oI Group 4.
Learners in Group 2 appear to be the reverse oI Group 3
members: Although they have positive attitudes toward every-
thing that is associated with English, they do not see English as
related to their Iuture proIessional liIe (witnessed by the low
instrumental score). They simply do not think that they will need
the L2, which is a common Ieature oI many language learners.
Thus, although they are positively disposed toward the target
language, it simply does not reach the necessary level oI
relevance Ior them to develop into an ideal L2 selI. Why these
learners display a lower overall level oI motivation than those in
Group 3 can also be explained with the motivational selI
paradigm: Although members oI neither group have a salient ideal
L2 selI, those in Group 3 are at least motivated by an ought-to L2
Thus, Ior English (US), the primary Ioreign language in
Hungary, the cluster analysis appears to provide validation oI
Drnyei`s (2005) L2 Motivational SelI System. II we look at the
other languages (Tables 2b-2I), we see a largely similar pattern to
the above, but Ior some variables in which the English data
revealed a superiority oI Group 2, Group 3 scores actually exceed
those oI Group 2. Out oI the six relevant scores Ior which the
English data showed the inverse pattern Ior Groups 2 and 3 (three
variables in 1993 and 1999 each), this deviation occurs Ior each
language less than twice on average. For the languages that play a
less important role in the Hungarian context French, Italian,
and Russianthe unstable pattern can be linked to the weak and
somewhat changing position oI the languages (cI. Drnyei &
Csizer, 2002). However, Ior one variable (Attitudes toward L2
speakers, 1999), even English (UK) and German deviate Irom the
pattern obtained with English (US). We believe that this is related
to the signiIicant tendency, discussed by Drnyei and Csizer,
during the 1990s Ior interethnic attitudes among Hungarians to
become more negative in general. This, we believe, is due partly to
some sort oI a 'disillusionment process that occurred when people
realized that their heightened expectations had not been Iully met
by 'joining the Iree world and partly to the increased level oI
contact with Ioreign visitors, among which German-speaking
tourists constituted by Iar the largest group (Ior an in-depth
analysis oI the issue oI contact, see Drnyei & Csizer, 2005).
The Si:e and Gender Composition of the Jarious Motivational Groups
Having established the validity oI the clustering by means oI
both evaluating the cluster groups against external criterion
measures and discussing the cluster characteristics within a
theoretical Iramework, it is interesting to look at the size and
gender variations across the Iour cluster groups. Table 5 presents
the size oI the cluster groups in terms oI their percentages
Jol. 55, No. 4 Language Learning 638 Csi:er and Drnvei

Csi:er and Drnvei 641
oI the total sample. As could be expected, the percentages show
considerable variation, but the emerging pattern is in accordance
with the popularity rank order oI the Iive languages determined
by Drnyei and Csizer (2002), according to which English was
by Iar the most popular language in the sample, Iollowed by
German, French, Italian, and Iinally Russian. Thus, we would
expect English, the most popular language, to be associated with
the largest most motivated students group and Russian, the least
popular language, with the largest least motivated students group.
As the table shows, this is indeed the case, and all the other results
spread logically and evenly between these two extremes.
Table 6 indicates the gender dominance in the diIIerent
motivational clusters. The pattern conIirms in a visually clear
manner Drnyei and Csizer`s (2002) Iinding wherein girls dis-
played superior language attitudes to boys across the board. All
but one oI the most motivated clusters are dominated by girls,
and most oI the least motivated clusters are dominated by boys.
These Iindings are in accordance with results typically reported in
the literature Irom a wide variety oI learning contexts, indicating
on the one hand that girls are more successIul in virtually every
aspect oI language learning, and on the other hand that Ioreign
language learning is increasingly seen by boys as a 'girly
subject in many countries. Although some hypotheses have been
proposed about the reasons Ior this general pattern, to the best oI
our knowledge no comprehensive explanation has been provided
to date about the marked gender variation.
Target Language Interference in Language Choice and Effort
The Iact that our investigation has Iocused on the learners as
the Iocal unit allows us to examine the interIerence oI their
various dispositions toward the various target languages. For
example, it is reasonable to assume that a strong attraction to a
particular language is likely to exist at the expense oI other
possible target languages, but hardly any L2 motivation studies

Csi:er and Drnvei 643
have addressed such attitudinal interIerences. Because cluster
analysis was carried out separately Ior each language, each student
had a separate motivational group membership index with regard
to each oI the target languages; that is, a learner could, Ior
example, belong at the same time to the highly motivated cluster in
English and to the not-at-all-motivated one in Italian. Looking at
the combinations oI the various memberships can, then, answer
the question as to whether it is better to be motivated to learn
only a single language, or whether an overall interest in Ioreign
languagesas indicated by belonging to the highly motivated
groups across the boardprovides a stronger commitment. A
Iurther question is how English, the indisputable world language,
aIIects preIerences Ior other, less vital languages.
As a Iirst step, we have divided the learners into Iive groups,
depending on how many most motivated group memberships they
achieved across the languages (i.e., how many times in Tables 2a-
2I they qualiIied in Group 4). In this analysis we have omitted
Russian, because the learners` attitudes toward it were so
negative that we could not expect the preIerence Iigures to provide
a reliable contribution to the regrouping oI students according to
the number of most motivated cluster memberships, and we used
only one index Ior English, that associated with the United States,
as this was the dominant perception in the sample. Thus, we
obtained Iive groups (one group Ior each number oI memberships
Irom 0 to 4, with the latter group made up oI learners who had
the highest level motivational proIile in all the languages:
English, German, French, and Italian) and then conducted an
analysis oI variance to examine how the scores on the two
criterion measures varied across the Iive groups. As can be seen in
Table 7, with regard to Intended effort the picture is
straightIorward: Breadth oI L2 motivation (as indicated by the
number oI top group memberships) is in a direct positive rela-
tionship with the intended level oI eIIort to learn all the L2s in
question. That is, the more oIten a participant belonged to the
most motivated group in the various languages, the higher
amount oI eIIort the person wanted to invest in any oI these

646 Language Learning Jol. 55, No. 4
languages. Because we suggested earlier that membership in a
most motivated group is an indication oI the salience oI one`s
ideal L2 selI, this Iinding means that a highly developed ideal
language selI is associated with a general interest in languages
a Iinding that is in accordance with Gardner`s (1985) original
conceptualization oI integrativeness, which also contains an
'interest in Ioreign languages component.
The interesting question is whether the results Ior Language
choice display the same pattern as those Ior Intended effort.
Although the two variables are obviously linkedthat is, the
extent oI one`s willingness to choose an L2 and the level oI eIIort
one intends to expend on learning it are interrelatedthere is one
big diIIerence between the two measures. While the responses Ior
Intended effort Ior diIIerent L2s are unrelated to each other (i.e.,
one can assign the highest score to all the L2s), with regard to
Language choice one is Iorced to state preIerences, both in real
liIe (because our capacity Ior L2 learning is limited) and also in
the actual survey (because students were asked to choose and
rank-order three languages). Thus, the choice oI one language
inevitably aIIects that oI another. The pattern in Table 8 reIlects
this diIIerence in that instead oI the straightIorward positive
relationship that characterized Intended effort, we Iind a more
complex picture. At this point we must note that a typical
Hungarian learner would master only one L2 (at best), with only
the best ones having a serious go at two L2s; studying three L2s
seriously is very rare, and Iour is almost unheard oI. ThereIore,
Ior the sake oI clarity in this analysis we will ignore Italian, the
popularity oI which is behind that oI the other three international
languages (English, German, and French) and which was
included in the research paradigm primarily as a control.
The results Ior French in Table 8 are the closest to the
straightIorward pattern obtained Ior Intended effort. This makes
sense: Because most Hungarian learners want to master English
and German Iirst, only the best and most motivated learners will
attempt French. ThereIore, here the number oI

Csi:er and Drnvei 649
most motivated learner group memberships is relevant and cor-
relates with the desire to learn French. With English and German
we Iind a strikingly diIIerent pattern. For English it almost does
not matter what one`s motivational proIile is like because the data
reveal a very high general level oI endorsement: Even the smallest
coeIIicient (Ior Group 0 in 1993) is 2.24 out oI a maximum oI 3,
which actually exceeds the largest coeIIicient Iound Ior German in
any oI the cells (1.87). It is no wonder, thereIore, that in 1999
there were no signiIicant between-group diIIerences concerning
the English language choice results, F(4,3823) 1.8, p .125,
which reIlects well the perceived 'world language status oI
English: As described in Drnyei and Csizer (2002), people
increasingly study English not necessarily because they are
motivated to do so but because it is seen as part oI general
education, similarly to reading, writing, and arithmetic.
With German the surprising Iinding is that both in 1993 and
1999 the top-scoring groups Ior Language choice were Groups 0
and 4 jointly. That is, one was most likely to choose German
either iI one had a very broad or a very limited interest in Ioreign
languages. How can this be? We believe that this Iinding is a
result oI substantial interIerence Irom World English. II a learner
was not interested in language learning at all, then he or she was
quite likely to give a high mark in the questionnaire Ior German,
the traditional lingua Iranca in Hungary (and in Central Europe in
general)this was merely a deIault rating, without implying any
real meaningIul motivation. II the person had some interest in
L2s, he or she was likely to mark mainly English, which was
perceived to be the dominant world languagehence the lower
score Ior German in the interim groups. However, iI the person
was reallv interested in language learning, he/she was likely to
want to learn both English and German, as these were generally
accepted as the main world and regional languages,
respectivelyhence the high score Ior German. In order to test
this hypothesis, we have conducted a more in-depth analysis, this
time Iocusing only on the German/English interIerence.

Target Language Interference in Language Choice and Effort. Focus
on English and German
In order to achieve a detailed understanding oI the combined
eIIect and interIerence oI English and German, we computed 16
new learner groups based on the combinations oI the Iour learner
proIiles Ior English and German described in Tables 2a and 2c. We
then compared the two criterion measures in the 16 groups
separately: Table 9 presents the results Irom 1999

(because the results Irom 1993 and 1999 were very similar, Ior the
sake oI clarity we will Iocus on the latest results only). As can be
seen, the trends Ior Intended effort and Language choice are almost
exactly the same: Students preIer German to English only (a) iI
they are motivated to learn German and they are not motivated to
learn English (Groups 2-4), or (b) iI they are highlv motivated to
learn German and only marginally to learn English (Groups 8-12).
This clearly shows that the motivation to learn German is
dependent on the motivation to learn English, whereas the latter is
not aIIected by the Iormer.
The above analysis Iocused on the direction oI motivation
(i.e., the L2 preIerence). We also wanted to check whether the
intensitv (i.e., magnitude) oI the motivated behavior showed any
systematic variation across the 16 groups. As expected, an analysis
oI variance with grouping as the independent variable produced
highly signiIicant results in all the Iour language-criterion
combinations. With regard to the Intended effort to learn English,
we Iind an almost straightIorward positive linear relationship
(similar to the one in Table 3): As shown by Table 10 and
illustrated by Figure 2, the higher the group level oI English, the
higher the eIIort scores, and the level oI German group
membership does not seem to make any diIIerence. Thus, in this
regard English is not aIIected by German.
With regard to Language choice, the picture is somewhat
diIIerent (see Table 11). The rhythmically sloping pattern oI the
graph Ior this variable in Figure 2 shows some German inter-
Ierence: The 'bumps in the graph coincide with the lowest
German group membership level (i.e., Level 1) and the 'dips
with the highest German group membership level (i.e., Level 4).
Thus, even though students in general tend to express a preIer-
ence Ior English over German, whether or not they like German
modiIies their overall eagerness to choose English.
Let us now look at the German results. Our earlier analyses
have already indicated a strong interIerence oI World English
when it comes to learning other languages, and indeed the
Language choice scores Ior German (Table 12) conIirm this.
650 Language Learning Jol. 55, No. 4

Iocus on motivational learner types and proIiles is a IruitIul one
and that cluster analysis is an eIIective statistical procedure to
apply in this context. We have uncovered Iour broad motiva-
tional proIiles that characterized learners regardless oI the spe-
ciIic target language or the time oI the survey. The Iirst group
consisted oI the least motivated learners, who were basically not
interested in Ioreign languages, cultures, and language learning.
The other extreme was Group 4, the most motivated learners,
who showed a generally high disposition across all the motiva-
tional dimensions. We argued that these latter learners have
successIully developed a salient ideal L2 selI, which was also
associated with an interest in Ioreign languages in general. The
two interim groups showed an intriguing proIile diIIerence:
Whereas Group 2 Ieatured more positive attitudes toward the L2
culture and community, Group 3 members were superior on
instrumental aspects. This pattern was interpreted within
Drnyei`s (2005) L2 Motivational SelI System: We argued that
the reason why the learners in these groups had not developed a
strong ideal L2 selI was (a) in the case oI Group 2, a lack oI a
proIessional Iuture relevance oI the L2, and (b) in the case oI
Jol. 55, No. 4 Language Learning
Jol. 55, No. 4 Language Learning
654 Csi:er and Drnvei

motives that are rooted in the L2 learners` immediate learning
environment, but only more stable and generalized motives. This is
why only two main components oI Db`rnyei`s (2005) L2
Motivational SelI System were identiIied: the ideal L2 selI and
the ought-to L2 selI; the third component, the L2 learning
experience, was not addressed in this study.
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