Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 7 : 11 November 2007
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Attitude and Motivation in English Language Learning
A Study of Female Learners of Southern Punjab

Muhammad Akram, Ph.D. Candidate


The present study explores the attitude and motivation of the female English language learners towards English language learning. The participants comprised 9 female English Language Learners in Southern Punjab which is considered the primitive area of Punjab and the females are not provided many chances to carry their education at further or higher level. On the one hand, the present study explores the attitude and motivation of these learners and on the other their desire to learn foreign languages.


Learning a language is difficult task. Several contextual factors, i.e. L1 proficiency, level of similarity between L1 and L2, and attitudinal and motivational factors make L2 learning a difficult process. Motivation is an important factor in L2 achievement and attitude is more than ability. It provides the main incentive to initiate learning a foreign language and later the determination to preserve and sustain the learning process. The importance of motivation in human activity has been recognized in the field of social psychology and education for decades (Noels, Pelletier & Vallerand, 2000). As far as second/foreign language learning is concerned motivation is believed to be at least as important as language aptitude in predicting second language achievement (Gardener & Clement, 1990).

Pakistani education system as a whole and the issue of the language in education in particular is very much a subject for debate with the need for changes being recognized. To study the process of English language learning in Pakistani context, there are a number of socio-psychological factors to be explored.

In general terms, the study is located in the social psychological discipline of second language acquisition research focusing on the situational factors influencing second language proficiency and on individual variables relating to attitude and motivation.

In Pakistani community where different languages co-exist, language attitudes play an important role in the lives of the users of these languages. Today there are more non-native than native users of English and English has become a world language. English language enjoys a high status in Pakistan as the language of education, law, science, technology, Government and a lingua franca among the provinces. It has become a status symbol, a refine medium of communication.

Status of English in Pakistan

The status of English in Pakistan is as clear as daylight. A Pakistani's inadequate grasp of English language would keep him reminded of his inferior status. An overview of the history of English in the sub-continent will help understand present day attitudes toward English language learning in Pakistan. The British people came to sub-continent as traders and soon they got the full control over the Indian economy. Their economic domination was followed by political domination, which ultimately resulted in their cultural and linguistic domination i.e. the domination of English language and literature in sub-continent.

English in Pakistan is used as an official and a second language. It is spoken and used by a relatively small but extremely influential portion of country's population in the domain of government administration, law, the military, the higher education, commerce and mass media (Baumgardner 1993:43).

According to Ghani (2003:105) English in Pakistan serves as a gateway to success, to further education and to white collar jobs. It is the language of higher education and wider education and not the home language of the population except in the upper strata of society where it is spoken as a status symbol. Socially, English adopted as a second language has had a significant impact both economically and educationally. It continues to play an important role in the country's commercial and industrial development and outside the government sector.

The teaching of English in Pakistan has been text based since the beginning because the British government policy was to create a class of natives who would act as a buffer between the ruler and the ruled as also the link between the two. English is the one good legacy of the British rule in this sub-continent.

The educationalist pleads for the teaching of English as a window on the world. The politician wants English because of inter and intra communicational needs with different linguistic regions of the country as well as with the world out side.

A Pakistani learner is motivated into learning English language for:

1- Studies abroad.
2- Greater job opportunities outside his native area.
3- Social, missionary or military purposes.
4- Trade and commerce.
5- Academic purposes.

English is taught as the compulsory subject from the first grade in our curricula. It is evident that it can not take the place of a national language but a language that has entered the blood stream of a nation can not by any canon of justice be given the status of just a foreign language.

Judging from certain trends prevailing in Pakistan, it appears that the influence of English is on the increase rather than the decrease. The English news papers and magazines have an extensive readership. The number of books published in English is quite encouraging. English is still used in offices, high-courts and parliaments etc. more and more public schools where the study of English starts right from the first class are being opened.

English is and will continue to be a necessity of Pakistan. In a country where the majority speak Punjabi, and national language is Urdu, and over sixty other languages are spoken on regular bases, the status of English as a language of power and elitism reflects the current global attitude toward English language.



The participants comprised 9 female English language learners (originally these were 20 students but most of them could not return the questionnaire in filled form) from Multan and Bahawalpur divisions of Punjab Province. All of these participants were doing their Intermediate course at different colleges of these divisions.


The participants were given a questionnaire (AMTB Gardner: 1985) to find out their attitude and motivation towards English language learning. The resulting questionnaire, after deleting self scale items (M, N, O, P) due to unintelligibility, was made up as follows:

Direct measures (Liker scale 5-1)

A. Parental Encouragement -- 10 Items
B. Degree of Instrumentality -- 8 Items
C. Degree of Integrativeness -- 8 Items
D. Attitude towards Learning English -- 10 Items
E. Attitude towards English people -- 5 Items
F. English Class Anxiety -- 5 Items
G. Ethnocentrism -- 9 Items
H. Cultural Identity -- 5 Items
I. Need for Achievement -- 10 Items
J. Interest in Foreign Languages -- 10 Items


A Reading Program for 13 Year-old Deaf Boy | Strategic Reading in L1 and L2 - One System or Two Systems? | Postpositions in Bangla with Special Reference to Prepositions in English | Translation: New Dimensions | Attitude and Motivation in English Language Learning - A Study of Female Learners of Southern Punjab | Collage as a Narrative Device of Raghavendra Rao's The Journey to Golgotha | HOME PAGE OF OCTOBER 2007 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Muhammad Akram, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English (Applied Linguistics)
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur

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