Spanish language learning, mass media, social motivation, socio-cultural competence


Mass media have a central role in transmitting culture. In fact, they have become handy relevant tools for learning a foreign language due to their ability to transmit both direct and indirect information. Mass media that broadcast or publish in Spanish have helped to unify the language in a basic neutral Spanish, fostering better reading and writing competences and self-esteem increase among the Hispanic population, at the same time making this population more visible. The main aim of this study is to analyze what motivates North American students to select Spanish as a foreign language. For this purpose, the number and types of mass media published in Spanish in the geographic context of the survey informants have been studied, as well as the use the students make of media. Furthermore, an adaptation of the questionnaire by Ramírez (1992) has been employed to establish the socio-cultural competence of North American students studying at two Spanish universities. The analysis of the survey results reveals that mass media have a high impact on the social motivation to learn Spanish as a foreign language of these students, that is to say, the possibility of working with and assisting the Hispanic population is rated as a main career opportunity. Mass media show the importance that Spanish is acquiring in other formal contexts of American life and constitute a nexus between cultures. They have also conquered students of Spanish as a foreign language as an audience, as they consider media an important source of linguistic and cultural input.


Almeida, M. (2003). Sociolingüística. Tenerife: Universidad de La Laguna.

Link Google Scholar

Ammon, U.; Dittmar, N. & Mattheier, K. (2006). Sociolinguistics: an international handbook of the science of language and society. Nueva York: Mouton de Gruyter

Link Google Scholar

Barnach, E. (1980). La lengua española en Estados Unidos. Madrid: Oficina de Educación Iberoamericana.

Link Google Scholar

Bravo, E. (2008). El español internacional. Madrid: Arco/Libros.

Link Google Scholar

Chambers, J.K. & Trudgil, P. (1998). Dialectology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Link Google Scholar

Crommett, C. (2003). El español y los medios de comunicación en Estados Unidos, ¿cultura de inmigración o cultura étnica? El español en los medios de comunicación de Estados Unidos. Centro Virtual Cervantes.

Link Google Scholar

Csizér, K. y Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The internal structure of language learning motivation and its relationship with language choice and learning effort. The Modern Language Journal 89, 1:19-36.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Fonseca-Mora, M.C. (2005). Individual Characteristics of Secondary School Students, in McLaren, N.; Madrid, D. & Bueno, A. (Eds.). TEFL in Secondary Education. Granada: Editorial Universidad de Granada; 79-110.

Link Google Scholar

García Marcos, F. (1999). Fundamentos críticos de sociolingüística. Almería: Universidad de Almería.

Link Google Scholar

Gimeno, F. y Gimeno, M. V. (2003). El desplazamiento lingüístico del español por el inglés. Madrid: Cátedra.

Link Google Scholar

Gómez, A. (2003). El español internacional y la prensa hispana en Estados Unidos: la posible y necesaria unidad del español en los medios estadounidenses. El español en los medios de comunicación en Estados Unidos. Centro Virtual Cervantes.

Link Google Scholar

Grolnick, W.S.; Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (1997). Internalization within the family: the self-determination theory perspective, en Grusex, J. & Kyczynsky, L. (Eds.).Parenting and children’s internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp.135-161). Nueva York: John Wiley.

Link Google Scholar

Gumperz, J. (1974). Linguistic Anthropology in Society. American Anthropologist, 76, 4; 785-798

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Hymes, D. (1974). Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

Link Google Scholar

Llobera, M. & otros (1995).Competencia comunicativa, documentos básicos en la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras. Madrid: Edelsa.

Link Google Scholar

López Morales, H. (2006). La globalización del léxico hispánico. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe.

Link Google Scholar

Luna, M.R. (2008). La enseñanza audiovisual para el fomento de competencias múltiples. Comunicar 31; 469-475.

Link Google Scholar

Marcellán, I. & Agirre, I. (2008). El valor educativo de los medios: correlaciones socioculturales. Comunicar 31; 529-535.

Link Google Scholar

Morales, A. (2001). El español en Estados Unidos. Medios de comunicación y publicaciones. ( (22-11-09).

Link Google Scholar

Moreno, F. (2000). Qué español enseñar. Madrid: Arco Libros.

Link Google Scholar

Noel, K.A. (2001). New orientation in language learning motivation: towards a model of intrinsic, extrinsic and integrative orientations and motivation, en Dörnyei, Z. & Schmidt, R. (Eds.) Motivation and Second Language Acquisition. (Technical Report 23: 43-68). Honolulu University of Hawai, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Link Google Scholar

Ramírez, G.A. (1992).El español de los Estados Unidos. El lenguaje de los hispanos. Madrid: Mapfre.

Link Google Scholar

Santamaría, J. (1987). El lenguaje español en la televisión hispana de Estados Unidos. Primera reunión de academias de la lengua española sobre el lenguaje y los medios de comunicación (Octubre de 1985). Madrid: R.A.E.

Link Google Scholar

Segalowitz, N. & Freed, B.F. (2004). Context, Contact, and Cognition in Oral Fluency Acquisition: Learning Spanish in at Home and Study Abroad Contexts. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26; 173-199.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Vilar, M. (1996). La prensa en los orígenes de la enseñanza del español en los Estados Unidos (1823-1833). Murcia: Universidad de Murcia.

Link Google Scholar

Vilar, M. (2008). El español, segunda lengua en los Estados Unidos. De su enseñanza como idioma extranjero en Norteamérica al bilingüismo. Murcia: Universidad de Murcia.

Link Google Scholar


This work has no financial support


Technical information


Metrics of this article

Views: 2165

Abstract readings: 1879

PDF downloads: 286

Full metrics of Comunicar 34

Views: 1038219

Abstract readings: 645307

PDF downloads: 392912

Cited by

Cites in Web of Science

Campos Bandres, Iris Orosia. Attitudes towards Catalan of future Aragonese primary education teachers SINTAGMA, 2015.

Link Google Scholar

Lu, Xiuchuan; Zheng, Yongyan; Ren, Wei. Motivation for Learning Spanish as a Foreign Language: The Case of Chinese L1 Speakers at University Level CIRCULO DE LINGUISTICA APLICADA A LA COMUNICACION, 2019.

Lu, Xiuchuan; Zheng, Yongyan; Ren, Wei. Simultaneous learning of English and Spanish in China: A Q-method study on motivation REVISTA SIGNOS, 2019.

Campos Bandres; Iris Orosia;. Exploring the opportunities for the minoritized language in the school. A quantitative research on attitudes towards Aragonese language ONOMAZEIN , 2020.

Maria Toscano-Fuentes, Carmen; Fonseca Mora, Maria Carmen. Music as a facilitating tool of learning English as a foreign language TEORIA DE LA EDUCACION, 2012.

Link Google Scholar

Cites in Scopus

Toscano-Fuentes, C.M., Fonseca Mora, M.C.. Music as a facilitating tool of learning English as a foreign language [La música como herramienta facilitadora del aprendizaje del inglés como lengua extranjera]), Teoria de la Educacion, .

Link Google Scholar

Bandres, I.O.C.. Attitudes towards catalan of future Aragonese Primary Education teachers [Actitudes hacia el catalán del futuro profesorado aragonés de Educación Primaria]), Sintagma, .

Link Google Scholar

Lu, X., Zheng, Y., Ren, W. . Motivation for learning Spanish as a foreign language: The case of Chinese L1 speakers at university level), Circulo de Linguistica Aplicada a la Comunicacion, .

Lu, X., Zheng, Y., Ren, W.. Simultaneous learning of English, Spanish in China: A Q-method study on motivation [Aprendizaje simultáneo del inglés y el español en China: Una investigación basada en la Metodología-Q sobre la motivación]), Revista Signos, .

Cites in Google Scholar

Currently there are no citations to this document


Alternative metrics

How to cite

Fonseca-Mora, C., & García-Barroso, L. (2010). Studying Spanish in the USA: Mass media as social motivation. [Aprender español en USA: Los medios de comunicación como motivación social]. Comunicar, 34, 145-153.



Oxbridge Publishing House

4 White House Way

B91 1SE Sollihul United Kingdom


Editorial office

Creative Commons

This website uses cookies to obtain statistical data on the navigation of its users. If you continue to browse we consider that you accept its use. +info X