Self-guide distinctions and episodic memory in L2 motivation: The case of Arabic in the United States

Ryan Blair, Mahmoud Azaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2009) has offered a model of second language (L2) motivation that considers the role of possible self-guides. This study examined an expanded version of this model by incorporating a distinction in the ought-to L2 self: ought-to L2 self/own and ought-to L2 self/others. Also, it examined the relationship between memory and L2 self-guides. A questionnaire was administered to L2 Arabic learners to capture core constructs of L2 motivation and memories of past experiences, known as episodic memory. The results indicated that L2 learning experience had the strongest direct effect and ideal L2 self had the strongest indirect effect on intended effort. L2 self-guides were most influential when mediated by L2 learning experience or ideal L2 self. However, ought-to L2 self/own and ought-to L2 self/others exhibited dichotomous behavior, in which ought-to L2 self/own had a positive effect and ought-to L2 self/others had a negative effect on intended effort. Importantly, associations between episodic memory and L2 self-guides were found but selective, driven presumably by shared emotional and self-relevant content. The study concludes that L2 self-guide distinctions exhibit different effects on L2 motivation in the target language context. Also, it concludes that L2 self-guides exhibit particular associations with episodic memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-205
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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