Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Foreign Languages BA


Foreign Languages and Literature

First Advisor

Carmen Carracelas-Juncal, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Foreign Languages and Literature


While bilingualism has always existed within the history of the U.S. and is the global norm, mainstream approaches to learning have traditionally been monolingually centered and fail to employ approaches that produce sustainable motivation towards foreign language acquisition in students. This study sought to investigate the perceptions adult individuals display towards acquiring foreign language skills, emphasizing distinctions exhibited between monolinguals and their multilingual counterparts. A mixed-method approach in the analysis of 506 survey responses yielded results that suggest that university adults generally display positive perceptions towards foreign language learning. Distinctions in perception between monolinguals and multilinguals were very few with main ones centering on differences in the intensity of sentiments felt for positive, neutral, and negative statements on foreign language; differences in lived experiences from which anecdotal evidence is drawn; and expressions of regret and/or unrealized desire. Findings also support the existing theory found in Masgoret & Gardner (2003), that suggests that level of motivation remains the determinant factor of whether one is likely to be persistent in the learning process to achieve success. This study intends to contribute to the discussion of how to create better educational curricula and social initiatives that encourage openness to acquiring and utilizing languages other than English within the U.S.