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The article focuses on written narratives of 51 Finnish university students who study German, Swedish or French as their major or one of their minors at an advanced level. The study aims to find what keeps these students motivated to study their L2. The data have been analyzed using analysis of narratives (Polkinghorne, 1995). Dörnyei’s (2009a, 2009b, 2014) L2 motivational self system (L2MSS), built around the concepts of ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self and L2 learning experience, is used as the theoretical framework. The results indicate that perceived social pressure (ought-to L2 self) may be important when the study decision is made, but its importance diminishes during the studies. Instead, a future L2-related vision (ideal L2 self) as well as peers, teachers, course contents, and learning atmosphere (L2 learning experience) become increasingly important during the studies. The role of the emotional dimension of possible selves seems to be central in developing and preserving study motivation. At the end of the article, some implications of the results for higher education programs of languages other than English (LOTEs) are presented.
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