Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 931–945 | Cite as

Motivation Among Pre-intermediate Iranian Language Learners: From Explicit Knowledge Toward Implicit Syntactic Development

  • Amirabbas Rafiee Fazel
  • Mehdi Latifi
  • M. Raouf Moini


The variable success in learning a second language (L2) may be best explained by varying degrees of motivation. This study investigated whether individual differences in appraisal dimensions of motivation explained explicit and implicit syntactic knowledge. Participants learned three syntactic structures under implicit and explicit training conditions. They also completed two motivation questionnaires before instruction. Syntactic development was assessed at early and late stages of acquisition. Results indicated superior performance on the tests of explicit knowledge, but a limited effect for the role of motivation in its development. However, with improvement in implicit knowledge at delayed testing, positive relationships emerged with several motivational dimensions. The results support L2 theoretical perspectives that posit different roles for explicit and implicit knowledge at early and late stages of L2 grammar, respectively. The findings also indicate that variation in learners’ patterns of stimulus appraisals may contribute to variable success in the development of implicit knowledge.


Explicit knowledge Implicit knowledge Motivation Foreign language Individual differences 



We gratefully acknowledge collaborations by Ali Salehnia and the teachers in the language institute where the data were collected. The authors also thank all of the participants who voluntarily took part in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages, English DepartmentUniversity of KashanKashanIran

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