Numerous theorists have offered opinions about motivational differences between learning a new language and other school subjects. At the same time, little empirical evidence for the differences has been brought forward. In this study, we aimed to address these motivational differences and similarities between learning a new (foreign) language and learning one's own language in formal school settings using the framework of self- determination theory. Rather than comparing variable level differences, we investigated a representative sample of Japanese secondary school students (n = 830) to demonstrate person-centered differences using latent profile analysis. Results indicated the sample was divided into five theoretically consistent subgroups, with similar patterns of motivation and achievement across language domains. Roughly 55% of the sample fit into the same subgroups for each subject, indicating that the majority of students' motivation for learning a language was similar across the two school subjects.
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