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Motivation: The First Step To Learning A Foreign Language

Partaking in a new skill or learning new knowledge needs some form of motivation, no matter how little it may be. Learning gets significantly harder if you had none. Motivation is vital when you wish to learn something new, especially if you want to keep it up in the long run. By breaking down the role of motivation, we’ll give you a brief rundown about why cultivating motivation is important.

The Two Types Of Motivations

Motivation is described as the desire that directs one’s behaviour towards a specific goal. Theories suggest that motivation is an innate element to optimise your well-being, minimise pain (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and maximise pleasure.

There are two types of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

One experiences intrinsic motivation when they gain personal satisfaction from having done something. It’s driven by genuine interest and the enjoyment derived, both of which that came directly from the individual. For instance, you go out of your way to learn a new language to include it to another one of your repertoires.

Extrinsic motivation happens when one performs a task in order to gain something from another. In comparison to being intrinsically motivated, you may or may not derive any form of satisfaction from a task. For instance, the minorities in Singapore will pick up Chinese lessons just to be a favourable job candidate.

In most cases, the motivations are a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic. In most cases, it shifts and transforms from one type to another.

The Importance Of Motivation

As we’ve mentioned, motivation is an intrinsic quality that helps one to improve their state of living. It helps you to identify a problem that you wish to change and set a goal you want to achieve. Following that, when you are motivated, you are more likely to take decisive action and consistent effort to attain that pre-established goal. Whilst discipline is what will guarantee one’s constant effort in the long term, it’s one’s motivation that pushes one off from their inertia state to start moving. Motivation also helps to overcome any setbacks, especially if it’s intrinsic motivation.

The Role Of Motivation In Learning A New Language

The act of learning a foreign language, as with many other things, is notorious for being challenging. Once the rose-coloured glasses have been removed, it may get discouraging to continue with the challenging lessons. For instance, one who has no prior knowledge of Chinese characters will find it hard to grasp Kanji in their Japanese classes and this alone may discourage the learner from continuing.

It is thus important that you have a healthy dose of motivation, intrinsic motivation, especially. It will give you the needed push to constantly get better despite how challenging the task on hand might be. That doesn’t mean extrinsic motivation is obsolete either. The benefits of learning a foreign language, especially in the work field, are an excellent form of extrinsic motivation.

An individual who wishes to improve, regardless of their reasons, will come up with a plan to reach the goals that they’ve set. Whether it be as detailed as delegating a few days out of the week to go to your Japanese class or as vague as reading a book in a foreign language whenever possible, a plan is a step closer to your goals and without that motivation, you’d be standing still.


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