The Motivational Self-System of Learners of Kurdish as a Heritage Language: A Mixed-Methods Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Professor in Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ilam University, Ilam, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Candidate in English Language Teaching, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ilam University, Ilam, Iran.


The ongoing increase in the population of Kurdish as Heritage Language (HL) learners encouraged the present study to explore the learners’ motivations as well as the influential factors on its development. Second Language Motivational Self-System (L2MSS) was adopted as the theoretical framework wherein, the subscales of the Ideal-self, Ought-to self and Motivational Intensity were explored. The study drew on a mixed-methods design in which semi-structured interviews were conducted with four undergraduate participants and a total number of 213 undergraduate Iranian learners of Kurdish participated in a survey. The qualitative results indicated that the interviewees had a positive experience of learning Kurdish in the classroom and were more enthusiastic to get engaged in the process of learning in the future. Furthermore, the quantitative results indicated that the participants more often pursued Kurdish in terms of the Ideal self and that learning Kurdish revealed to be an opportunity to fulfill the learners’ wishes. It was also found that the male participants were propelled by stronger motivational force which was more probably due to stronger sense of identity among male participants.


Main Subjects

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