Evaluating Implicit and Explicit Exposure to ESL and Their Influence on Motivation

Main Article Content

Tg Nur Liyana


Extensive SLA research has led to a myriad of teaching and learning methods. Implicit and explicit English language exposures constitute important components utilized in English language education. In Malaysia, the English language status had been downgraded for a period of time after the pre-independence era resulting in reduced English language exposure in classrooms. This has contributed in producing decreased English language fluency among graduates and it has raised the question as to which of the two language exposure modes best motivates language learning. Accordingly, the present study investigated whether doing receptive and productive language activities implicitly or explicitly correlates with motivation (low to high) among Malaysian higher education students. 445 from 460 undergraduate respondents from different public and private higher education institutions were selected following data cleaning. The initial analysis for descriptive data using the SPSS was followed by the structural model analysis using the PLS-SEM. The results show that explicit ESL exposure increased motivation to learn English. Implicit exposure, by contrast, did not directly increase motivation to learn English. Future research should examine how implicit (vs. explicit) language exposure influences different elements of language learning (e.g., syntax, semantics) to further verify the significance of present study’s measurement items.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Liyana, T. N. (2022). Evaluating Implicit and Explicit Exposure to ESL and Their Influence on Motivation. LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network, 15(2), 57–79. Retrieved from https://so04.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/LEARN/article/view/259922
Research Articles
Author Biography

Tg Nur Liyana, Academy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Kelantan, Malaysia

Currently a PhD candidate in Applied Language Studies in UiTM Selangor, Malaysia. Her interest in language learning strategies is mainly guided by her experience in teaching ESL to higher learning students. She is determined to inspire ESL teachers and learners to implement language learning strategies that align with their region. This includes understanding the types of exposure to ESL as a significant part of the learning strategies.


Achmad, D., & Yusuf, Y. Q. (2016). Exploring the motivational factors for learning English in Aceh. Dirasat, Human and Social Sciences, 43, 2223-2234.

Al Zoubi, S. (2018). The impact of exposure to English language on language acquisition. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 5(4), 151-162.

Andringa, S., & Rebuschat, P. (2015). New directions in the study of implicit and explicit learning: An introduction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(2), 185–196. https://doi.org/10.1017/S027226311500008X

Azar, A. S., & Tanggaraju, D. (2020). Motivation in second language acquisition among learners in malaysia. Studies in English Language and Education, 7(2), 323–333.

Chua, Y. P. (2006). Kaedah dan Statistic Penyelidikan. McGraw Hill.

Cohen, J. W. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Erlbaum.

Coyne, G. (2015). Language education policies and inequality in Africa: Cross-national empirical evidence. Comparative Education Review, 59(4), 619–637. https://doi.org/10.1086/682828

D’Ydewalle, G., & De Bruycker, W. (2007). Eye movements of children and adults while reading television subtitles. European Psychologist, 12, 196-205.

Darmi, R., & Albion, P. (July, 2012). Exploring language anxiety of Malaysian learners [Paper presentation]. 2nd Malaysian Postgraduate Conference, 7, Queensland, Australia.

De Jong, N. H., Groenhout, R., Schoonen, R., & Hulstijn, J. H. (2015). Second language fluency: speaking style or proficiency? Correcting measures of second language fluency for first language behavior. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36(2), 223–243.

Education Act 1996. (1996). International Law Book Services.

Ellis, N. (2002). Frequency effects in language processing: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24(2), 143-188.

Ellis, R. (2005). Measuring implicit and explicit knowledge of a second language: A psychometric study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27(2), 141-172.

Ellis, R., & Roever, C. (2018). The measurement of implicit and explicit knowledge. The Language Learning Journal, 49(2), 160-175.

Ellis, Rod. (2002). Second language acquisition. Oxford University Press.

Erkan, D. Y., & Saban, S. (2011). Writing performance relative to writing apprehension, self-efficacy in writing, and attitudes towards writing: A correlational study in Turkish tertiary-level EFL. Asian EFL Journal, 12(1), 164-192.

Ghaderpanahi, L. (2012). Using authentic aural materials to develop listening comprehension in the EFL classroom. English Language Teaching Journal, 5 (6), 146-153.

Godfroid, A. (2016). The effects of implicit instruction on implicit and explicit knowledge development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38, 177–215.

Hulstijn, J.H. (2013). Incidental learning in second language acquisition. In Chapelle, C.A. (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp. 2632–2637). Wiley-Blackwell.

Kashinathan, S., & Abdul Aziz, A. (2021). ESL learners’ challenges in speaking English in Malaysian classroom. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 10(2), 983-991.

Krashen, S. D. (2000). What does it take to acquire language? ESL Magazine, 3(3), 22-23.

Krejcie, R.V., & Morgan, D.W. (1970). Determining sample size for research activities. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 30, 607-610.

Kumar, A. (2011). Research and Writing Skills. Lulu Press.

Leow, R. P. (2019). ISLA: How implicit or how explicit should it be? Theoretical, empirical, and pedagogical/curricular issues. Language Teaching Research, 23(4), 476–493. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168818776674

Lightbrown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Middlehurst, R., & Woodfield, S. (2004). The role of transnational, private, and for-profit provision, in meeting global demand for tertiary education: Mapping, regulation and impacts. Case study-Malaysia, Summary Report. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO.

Moodie, I., & Nam, H. J. (2016). English language teaching research in South Korea: A review of recent studies (2009-2014). Language Teaching, 49(1), 63–98. https://doi.org/10.1017/S026144481500035X

Naeeini, S. K., Aminlari, F., & Mousavi, H. S. (2018). An investigation into attitudes towards learning English and the motivation type (integrative vs. instrumental) of Iranian students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies, 6(3), 204–213.

Peregoy, S. F., & Boyle, O. F. (2005). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL: A resource book for K12 teachers. Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Puay, S. K. (2020). Students’ motivation in learning English as a second language at secondary school level [Master Dissertation, Wawasan Open University]. Wawasan Open University Research http://woulibrary.wou.edu.my/theses-project/MED2020_KPSIM.pdf

Rahman, H. A., Rajab, A., Rollah, S., Wahab, A., Nor, F. M., & Zarina, W. (2017). Factors affecting motivation in language learning. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 7(7), 543-547.

Rashid, R. A. B., Rahman, S. B. A., & Yunus, K. (2017). Reforms in the policy of English language teaching in Malaysia. Policy Futures in Education, 15(1), 100–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210316679069

Rebuschat, P. (2015). Introduction: Implicit and explicit learning of languages. John Benjamins..

Rubrecht, B. G., & Ishikawa, K. (2012). Language learning motivation: Applying the L2 motivational self system. International Journal of Language Studies, 6(4), 71-96.

Selvaraj, B. (2010). English language teaching (ELT) curriculum reforms in Malaysia. Voice of Academia, 5, 51-60.

Shaul, D.L. (2014). Linguistic ideologies of native American language revitalization: Doing the lost language ghost dance. Springer Cham. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-05293-9

Spolsky, B., & Moon, Y. (2014). Primary school English-language education in Asia: From policy to practice. English Language Teaching, 68(3), 345–348.

Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language Learning, 46(2), 327- 369.

Ulfa, M., & Bania, A. S. (2019). EFL student’s motivation in learning English in Langsa, Aceh. Studies in English Language and Education, 6(1), 163-170.

Webb, S. (2010). A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 15(4), 497-519.

Williams, J. 2005. Learning without awareness. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 269–304.

Zulkurnain, N., & Kaur, S. (2014). Oral English communication difficulties and coping strategies of Diploma of Hotel Management students at UiTM. The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 20(3), 93–112.