Motivation and heritage learner status : modern Hebrew in the U.S.
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Most researchers in second language acquisition (SLA) concur that understanding motivation is vital to promoting success and both short and long-term interest among L2 learners (Gass & Selinker, 2001). Hebrew has become an endangered language in the U.S. (Spolsky, 2009), as partly attested by a decrease in Hebrew language enrollments at U.S. universities (Furman, Goldberg, & Lusin, 2009). With this decline, an analysis is needed to investigate the diverse motivations of U.S. university students who enroll in Modern Hebrew (Feuer, 2009; Kaufman, 2010). This report examines research on this topic from both Hebrew-specific studies and general SLA research, through a discussion of motivation, heritage language learners, and Hebrew learners. Relevant issues and implications are considered in light of five areas of discussion that are common to the Hebrew teaching field.