Towards Conceptualizing Language Learning Curiosity in SLA: An Empirical Study

  • Masoud Mahmoodzadeh
  • Gholam Hassan KhajavyEmail author


Why do some students frequently ask questions and actively seek out answers in the classroom, while others avoid this? Many language teachers might have commonly asked themselves this question. The present study is an empirical investigation of the concept of curiosity in the field of second language acquisition (SLA). Using a mixed-methods design, we aim to conceptualize language learning curiosity (LLC) within the framework of interest/deprivation (I/D) model of curiosity (Litman and Jimerson in J Personal Assess 82(2): 147–157, 2004. and see how it may be recognizably distinct from L2 psychological constructs, as well as how it connects with related constructs such as willingness to communicate, enjoyment, and anxiety. To measure LLC and depict its underlying dimensions, a new curiosity scale was developed and validated in this study. Overall, our results suggest that LLC can be conceived as an affective-cognitive variable reflecting an inquiry-driven interest and desire to learn and use a foreign language.


Language learning curiosity (LLC) LCFI LCFD L2 communicative curiosity Linguistic curiosity, SLA 


We would like to thank Sarah Mercer for her expert advice on conceptualizing the construct of curiosity in the psychology of language learning in this project. We also thank Achilleas Kostoulas and Mehvish Saleem for their excellent suggestions on developing our language learning curiosity scale (LLCS) in this study. Lastly, we would like to thank the editor, Prof. Rafael Art. Javier, and the anonymous reviewers for making insightful comments thereby increasing the quality of the article.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentIran Language Institute (ILI)MashhadIran
  2. 2.Department of Foreign LanguagesUniversity of BojnordBojnordIran

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