Giuseppe Formato


Portuguese is a language rich in varieties. Some adult heritage learners of Portuguese acquire it quickly and easily, while others students display negative attitudes towards the instructor’s dialect and withdraw from classes altogether, despite both groups receiving the same linguistic input. The dearth of research on this topic begged the research question, How does linguistic variety affect motivation in adult heritage learners of Portuguese? This study used semistructured interviews with 20 adult heritage learners to provide insight into the question, and aspects of adult learning, the L2 motivational self-system, and L2 acquisition theory as theoretical frameworks. Overlapping themes of identity, ideal selves, and language attitudes related to motivation towards Portuguese varieties, as well as their profound influence on a heritage learner’s motivation and acquisition success, emerged. These results suggest placing greater importance on consideration of linguistic variety in the classroom when assessing adult heritage learners.


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heritage learners, L2 motivational self-system, motivation, acquisition theory, Portuguese

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