Motivation To Learn Language | Foreign Language Classes NYC

Motivation to Learn a New Language

I’d like to write about some of the ways linguists talk about motivation in language learning.To break it down into the two main categories, we have: integrative motivation and instrumental motivation.

Of course, these two types of motivation can exist in the same person but in order to separate them in your mind, here are their traditional definitions:

Integrative motivation: when you are motivated to learn the language to take part in the culture of its people. (Picture what is going through this lady’s mind as she enjoys her glass of wine in Italy: “I love this place; I want to speak Italian, eat Italian, live Italian!”)


Instrumental motivation: when you are motivated to learn a language for a career or other practical goal. (Picture a foreigner in the US who is eager to improve her accent so she can demonstrate her intelligence more clearly and accordingly get that promotion more easily!)

Think about what motivates you to learn/improve another language and see if it fits in one or both of these categories.