Motivation In Spanglish

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Second Language Learning’s Motivation and World Englishes in James L. Brook’s Spanglish

Released in 2004, Spanglish stole audience’ hearts for its heartwarming story about two distinct cultures: American and Spanish. It tells a story about a Hispanic woman named Flor who became a housekeeper in an American family. At first, Flor decided not to meddle with the Claskys by not learning or speaking English and worked using body language or known as compensatory strategies . However, after several events happened she finally decided to learn English in order to protect her daughter from being Westernized by Deborah, the wife of the family. Regarding to motivation theory in second language acquisition, Spanglish movie is interesting to be analyzed.
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The Claskys’ treatment to Cristina counts as extrinsic motivation for Flor’s second language learning. The situation where Deborah pampering Cristina by taking her into the flea market and coloring her hair infuriated Flor enough. Moreover, when Flor knew John gave $650 dollars as a reward that Cristina had collected so many sea glass in his ‘treasure hunt’ game, she was determined to learn English. After Flor and John had an argument, she said to Cristina, “You have to stop translating everything for me. I have to learn English!” In other words, this event is the turning point when Flor felt that she had to assimilate with this American culture around her. Finally, she bought a self-learning English package and persistently studied each day. Actually, the low power distance between the Claskys and Flor as employer and an employee supports Flor to be confident in terms of communication. After she mastered English well, she does not mind to firmly state that she would stop working there. She was even daring enough to express her fury to Deborah in English. In addition, the extrinsic motivation triggers her perseverance, which is her intrinsic motivation, to learn English beyond her comfort zone. I can say that her WTC (willingness to communicate) is quite high. Beside her high WTC, a Hispanic tends to have high uncertainty avoidance according to Hofstede research in cultural dimension (Hofstede). Thus, it may be assumed that high uncertainty avoidance affects Flor’s diligence in learning the second language. No wonder she passed the learning process from studying words, phrases, until sentences without negative attitudes towards the second language. Finally, she successfully was able to speak English in daily conversation although her accent is not as perfect as her daughter speaking English. Presumably, it can be related to Critical Hypothesis theory that children
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