Is Authentic Equal to Motivating? Authenticity and Motivation in Second Language Education

An Overview of 30 Years of Research


  • Magdalena Kaltseis



Authentizität, Motivation, authentisches Material, Zweit- und Fremdsprachenunterricht


Authenticity and especially the predicate authentic serve in many areas of everyday life as selling points and as positively connoted attributes for the individual’s self-presentation. Authenticity as a concept has also gained increasing importance in foreign language education in recent decades. In this context, authenticity is often associated with the texts integrated into textbooks since authentic materials are generally considered attractive and motivating. The current article critically examines this assumption by reviewing research on the relationship between motivation and authenticity of the past 30 years. Special attention is given to the motivational potential of authentic texts. As the literature review shows, authenticity and motivation have a very close relationship and are intertwined with learner autonomy. While previous research largely affirms the positive effects of authentic materials on learner motivation, it becomes evident in the current article that there are few empirical studies on the relationship between authenticity and motivation and that they mostly focus on English as a second or foreign language. Consequently, there is a significant gap in research on authenticity and motivation in languages other than English, including Slavic languages.