Tag Archives: language

Motivation and Attitude in Language Learning

This article tackles how motivation and attitude affect language learning and what classroom implications can be drawn. This paper, originally submitted as an assignment in Psychology of Language Learning class, consisted of 1,900 words. This is a condensed version of that paper.  

 I learned from my readings and from the studies shared by my classmates that intelligence, aptitude and age do not play a major role in language acquisition or language learning. But, we cannot also deny that these factors contribute to the ability of a person in learning a language.

Aside from the factors given, I believe that motivation and attitude affect language learning. But what is the difference between the two?

The concepts of motivation and attitude are closely related but they appear different in certain respects. Motivation is generally defined as the factor which impels the student to study a target language in the first place and to continue or to stop studying it.

On the other hand, attitude is generally defined as the positive or negative feelings that students have towards the language, the language teacher, the language class, the culture(s) of people who speak that language. For example, a student might be highly motivated to study a language and culture for instrumental reasons, but he would not necessarily develop a positive attitude towards the target culture.

In a study by Massey in 1986, it was found out that attitude became more negative and motivation decreased the longer students studied the target language. So, there is a possibility that students will get tired studying the language and have a more negative attitude towards learning a language.

Thus, teachers should find out the reasons and make alternatives or changes in teaching or in setting out the learning environment. They should also know students’ interest, background, purpose, and learning styles to maintain their level of motivation and positive attitude towards learning a language.

A group of researchers found that girls tend to be more positive in their attitudes toward the French language. This is an interesting finding. Girls tend to have more positive attitude than boys. So, it only means that teachers should focus more on boys than girls in developing their attitude towards language learning. Perhaps, this may explain why males would rather like math and logic than learning a language.

Likewise, going to a place or having a field trip does not improve attitude. Attitude change can be done by attending a traditional classroom.

Thus, teachers may plan for activities inside the classroom where students can communicate effectively. They can require the class to gain contact with native speakers by writing or speaking to them. Or the school administrators must hire native speakers of a language as teachers.

On the other hand, students are highly motivated to learn if they realize the importance of learning a language in their career. For them, learning a language would mean a better opportunity, a bigger salary and a chance to travel abroad. They are more interested in linguistic rather than cultural interests for practical reasons.

Having said all these things, teachers should motivate their students by reminding them the importance of learning a language in their career.

© 2014 September 19 M. G. Alvior

Analyzing the Macro and Microstructures of Editorial Texts

This article explains how the macro and micro structures of editorial texts are analyzed. The author submitted this assignment to Dr. Danilo Dayag of De La Salle University, Manila in partial fulfillment of the course requirements in Discourse Analysis (subject) . Read on and learn how editorial texts are analyzed using this approach.

What is the Difference Between Macrostructure and Microstructure?

The macro structure is defined as the “germinal idea” (or closely related complex of germinal ideas) that acts as an overall plan in the development of the discourse (Toews, 1992) while the microstructure is defined as a collection of coherent basic units of text (e.g. sentences). Likewise, the macrostructure is a network derived from the microstructure by application of some semantic rules (Van Dijk, 1988).

Furthermore, according to Engebretsen (2000), the term macrostructure denotes both a textual and a cognitive entity. The macrostructure has a semantic representation in the text. And that representation has an encounter with the reader’s interpretive framework (mental schemas) and so, it is established in the mind of the reader. He also says that the macropropositions at the various levels will be partly expressed in the text.

For instance, the first or the last sentence in a paragraph often summarizes the entire paragraph. Nevertheless, the reader must infer the macrostructure of the text when reading. Macrostructures appear as a result of reducing or summarizing cognitive activity.

When retelling a text or constructing a text based on an event, the language user will follow what van Dijk (1988) calls the three macrorules to extract the most important information. These three rules are deletion, generalization and construction.

I examined eight (8) editorials taken from Manila Bulletin using the concept of macrostructure and microstructure. The headlines of these newspaper articles, dated November 11-18, 2001, are as follows:

  1. Nov 11, 2001 Information Month
  2. Nov. 12 President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s state visit to Indonesia
  3. Nov. 13 Super Rice
  4. Nov 14 President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s visit to the United States of America: Strengthening the ties to defend liberty and democracy and secure mutual development
  5. Nov 15 Welcome, President Tran Luong and Party of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  6. Nov 16 The National Tourism Policy Act 2001
  7. Nov 17 Mindanao Development Package
  8. Nov 18 Ramadan

The Editorials’ Macrostructures

The 8 editorial texts follow the same global structures: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. However, after analyzing the text, the following macro structures are noted: the issue/event, the claim, and the comment. The first paragraph contains the issue/event, the last paragraph contains the comments and the paragraphs in between contain the claims. Also, the headlines show and tell the main topic or the main idea of the editorial while the first paragraph tells something about the headline.

Expressives like wish, welcome, hope, and commend are commonly used in the last paragraph. Out of 8 editorials, wish is used 3 times for visit, while welcome is used once.

Three of the editorials use hope or hopefully for occasion, policy act, or program while commend is used twice for a good plan or project.

The Editorials’ Microstructures

The microstructural features are also used to give a signal or provide a clue for their macrostructures.

First, the use of co-reference. More endophoras are used particularly, the anaphora. The following are some examples:

#2 …daughters of revered former national leaders, namely, Indonesia’s founding President Suharno and former Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal. Their deceased and highly regarded fathers…

#8 The arabic word used in the Quran is sawm or, in the plural form, siyam. It literally means “to refrain”.

#8 The practices associated with the observance … are noble. They promote worthy thoughts and strengthen…..