The development of a motivation for language learning questionnaire in multilingual South Africa: Context and use


Survey questionnaires have over time become benchmark measuring instruments used to measure language learning motivation (LLM) in applied linguistics research related to second or additional language teaching. For researchers who wish to study the motivation phenomenon in multicultural and multilingual contexts, however, the problem is that many of the standardized questionnaires such as Gardner's Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) were designed to measure students' motivation primarily in Western countries. Therefore, it becomes mandatory for these researchers to devise scales that are contextually more appropriate for measuring students' LLM. Accordingly, this paper aims to contribute to the limited body of knowledge concerning the design of questionnaires for measuring LLM that are applicable to African multilingual settings by proposing a renewal of perspective in this regard. By outlining the rationale for developing a reliable motivation scale that can potentially yield valid and reliable research outcomes in multilingual contexts, the paper aims to demonstrate how the design of inclusive motivation scales can be achieved. Normative procedures or methods involved in developing questionnaire scales are briefly presented, specifically the selection of suitable survey statements, as well as the piloting and refinement of the scale. It is proposed that the scale be used in conjunction with qualitative methods in order to gain a fuller picture of how motivation interacts with other factors and processes in multilingual contexts that require the learning of an additional language.

Author Biographies

PraysGod Siphesihle Mhlongo, Cape Peninsula University of Technology University of the Free State
PraysGod Mhlongois an affiliate from the Faculty of Education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. His research focuses on language learning motivation in multilingual contexts, with a specific focus on learning English as a second language.E-mail du Plessis is a lecturer and language curriculum coordinator at the Department of English, University of the Free State. She is an executive member of NExLA (Network of Expertise in Language Assessment) and member of the South African Association for Language Teaching (SAALT). Her current research focuses on language teaching challenges following the massification of higher education, student engagement in language learning and integrative approaches to classroom assessment.E-mail address: Weideman is Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of the Free State. He is the deputy chairperson of the Network of Expertise in Language Assessment (NExLA). His research focuses on how language assessment, course design, and policy relate to a theory of applied linguistics.E-mail address:
Colleen du Plessis
Colleen du Plessis is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of the Free State. Her current research focuses on language teaching and testing in massified higher education and developmental contexts. In particular, she is interested in diagnostic assessment and supporting Deaf students to learn English.
Albert Weidemann
Albert Weideman is Professor of Applied Language Studies and Research Fellow at the University of the Free State. He recently published Assessing academic literacy in a multilingual context: Transition and transformation (2021, Multilingual Matters). He focuses on language assessment and a theory of applied linguistics. ORCID: E-mail address: Professional website: