Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

Wei Hong

Committee Chair

Wei Hong

Committee Member 1

Mariko M Wei

Committee Member 2

Alejandro Cuza


The purpose of this study is to propose a new theoretical framework for researching variables of motivation for language learning. It will contribute to the discussion on the motivation of Chinese heritage learners by using a new model: the bioecological model. The elements of the bioecological model are process, person, context and time. The bioecological model draws on three schools of motivation for language learning: the psychological process, contextual factors, and dynamic interactions. This study will answer two questions: Are personal attributes, proximal interactions and contextual factors predictors of heritage language learners’ motivation? Among these factors, do proximal interactions mediate the predictive power of personal attributes and contextual factors? The study used online questionnaires for data collection. Twenty-three questionnaires were completed and subjected to data analysis. The results support the hypothesis that personal and contextual factors’ effect on motivation for heritage language learning could be mediated by proximal interactions.