Implied in theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is the notion that language learning is analogous to obtaining or acquiring a possession – thus the use of the term ‘acquisition.’ While this interpretation has gone relatively unchallenged in the literature, this article introduces a new analogy whereby language learning is seen as analogous to a process of permanent or semi-permanent migration towards a new socio-linguistic L2 space. As such, a theory of endogenous and exogenous motivation is delineated, entailing a dynamic interplay between internal (primarily psychological) and external (primarily sociological) push-pull factors. Endogenous and exogenous push-pull factors, together with various other personal factors, contribute to learner decisions to migrate towards, move away from or remain inert with regard to the target language. Further, motivation is framed in the larger theoretical context of causation.
Keywords: interlanguage, endogenous, exogenous, motivation, L2, migration