Why is motivation the key to learning a new language?

Two types of motivation are associated with language learning. The first, integrative motivation, comes from the desire to create a better understanding of another culture, society and language and for that to then be a ‘tool’ for building relationships and meaningful communication.

This type of motivation may come about through romance or another type of connection with someone from another country and the necessity to understand that person’s culture and language. Sometimes integrative motivation is prompted by a move to warmer climes in retirement or to be with family members who are already living abroad.

Integrative motivation has been found to yield faster and more effective language learning as this type of motivation simply carries the learner along in their quest for communicative skills and understanding and their desire to learn for their own benefit is the key.

Instrumental motivation comes from a desire to accomplish success in a learning environment such as school or university i.e. to gain academic credit, or your new language may be necessary for work or to achieve progress or promotion at work.

Instrumental motivation will carry you along as long as you have a genuine interest in the new language and culture. If your curiosity and interest is zero for yourself personally and you are simply trying to achieve to succeed, you will and can learn a new language but you will struggle a lot more with your learning.

Motivation is obviously the key to learning a new language and you can build that motivation by finding out more about the specific culture that interests you thus provoking your curiosity and greater interest which will lead you into integrative motivation.
Then your language learning will flow!