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Foreign Language Learning Boredom: Refining its Measurement and Determining its Role in Language Learning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2024

Chengchen Li*
School of Foreign Languages, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Enhao Feng
School of Foreign Languages, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Xian Zhao
School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Jean-Marc Dewaele
UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK Birkbeck, University of London, UK
Corresponding author: Chengchen Li; Email:


This cross-sectional and longitudinal study sought to refine the measurement of foreign language learning boredom (FLLB) and examine its links with overall/skill-specific second and foreign language (L2) achievement (curriculum-based course exam scores) and proficiency (Cambridge English test scores). In Substudy 1, we developed and validated an 11-item Foreign Language Learning Boredom Scale–Short Form among secondary and tertiary English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in China (n1 = 2,223, n2 = 504, n3 = 934, n4 = 1,109). The scale showed sound psychometric properties (i.e., construct/criterion/convergent/discriminant/predictive validity, reliability, and measurement invariance across time and groups). In Substudy 2, structural equation modeling results show that FLLB had a consistent modest negative effect on overall and skill-specific (vocabulary and grammar, listening, reading, and writing) L2 achievement and proficiency (n4 = 1,109). Substudy 3 was a 12-month three-semester longitudinal investigation (n4 = 1,109). Cross-lagged panel modeling results show that L2 achievement predicted subsequent FLLB negatively, while FLLB did not predict subsequent L2 achievement.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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