Adult Minority Language Learning: Motivation, Identity and Target Variety

Author: Colin J. Flynn

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This book examines the role of affective variables in the process of learning a minority language. It presents a comprehensive account of how adult learners' attitude, motivation and identity are related to their awareness of, and commitment to, different dialects and varieties as target speech models. These issues are examined in the context of Irish, a minority language which does not have a standard spoken variety and where the vast majority of learners have no regular contact with native speakers. Using a mixed methods research approach, this study explores the relationships that exist between, on the one hand, learners' attitudes towards the three main traditional dialects of Irish and non-traditional second language varieties, and on the other, their motivation and self-concept as second language learners.

Written in a highly readable style, this book details the findings of an in-depth and timely study among adult language learners, investigating the role of motivation, language attitudes and linguistic identities in determining levels of acquisition of (varieties of) the Irish language. The book constitutes a valuable resource for researchers, teachers and students interested in second language acquisition, bilingualism and sociolinguistics.

Robert M. McKenzie, Northumbria University, UK

Offering new insights into language attitudes in a minority language context, this volume makes a timely contribution to our understanding of the self-concept of adult language learners from an affective perspective. Flynn not only provides readers with a robust empirical account of learner attitudes within the Irish language context, but also sheds light on the challenge of language learning through the lifespan.

Lorna Carson, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

This is a remarkable 'one-stop-shop' for researchers and practitioners working in the general area of second language teaching and learning; full of stimulating ideas, enlightening insights and valuable references. This book breaks new ground in research on the learning of an L2 as a minority language and is a 'must' for all researchers, curriculum designers and teachers working in the area of adult second language learning.

Muiris Ó Laoire, Institute of Technology, Tralee, Ireland

Flynn has provided the field with an impressive and in-depth study of adult language learner seeking to acquire the Irish heritage language. This is a must-read book for researchers, educators, and students in the field of SLA and bilingualism. For those seeking to enhance their understanding of language learning in diverse contexts, this book provides valuable insight into language attitudes regarding native and non-native varieties, which encompasses learners' awareness of such variants and aspirations toward native models.

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2020

Colin J. Flynn is Assistant Professor in Irish at Dublin City University, Ireland.


Chapter 1. The Irish Language and Adult Learners of Irish                 

Chapter 2. The Native Speaker and Target Models in Second Language Acquisition

Chapter 3. Attitude, Motivation and Identity in Second Language Learning                               

Chapter 4. Research Methodology                                                         

Chapter 5. Stage I: Irish Language Questionnaire for Adult Learners       

Chapter 6. Stage II: Speaker Evaluation Exercise                    

Chapter 7. Stage III: Semi-structured Interviews                

Chapter 8. Discussion and Conclusions                                   

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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