Second Language Learning Motivation and Investment in Warscapes

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English.


Department of English


Jennifer Haan


A significant body of scholarship exists on second language (L2) learning investment and strategies within the classroom, yet considerations for successful L2 learners in fragile contexts with limited formal education are conspicuously absent from literature. This article explores enabling factors of successful L2 learning in the particular warscape (Korf et al., 2010) of Afghanistan within the sociological framework of investment (Norton, 1995) and psychological framework of motivation (Garner & Lambert, 1972). The researcher surveyed and interviewed U.S.-based individuals from Afghanistan who acquired English proficiency there. Results indicate participants were able to overcome barriers to formal education through independent study and family advocacy and achieve high levels of proficiency despite little to no formal language instruction. The article discusses participants' motivation and social positioning with respect to English language learning in light of Norton's framework of investment, as well as possible implications for aid agencies serving regions in conflict.


English As A Second Language, SLA, second language learning, motivation, investment, Afghanistan, English language learners, ELLs, warscapes, English for Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL

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