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Willingness to communicate of Korean learners of English in an overseas L2 environment
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:15 authored by Colum Ruane
Willingness to communicate (WTC) represents the tendency of an individual to initiate conversation when free to do so. In the past WTC has been examined in both a person's first language (L1) and second language (L2). Investigations found that different variables are in effect when a person is using their L1 and L2, and so these need to be investigated separately. This project examined L2 WTC of Korean learners’ of English in an ESL setting in Sydney. It was an approximate replication of studies carried out by Tomoko Yashima among a cohort of Japanese students studying English as an L2 in an EFL setting. Of particular interest to the current study was the relationship between the constructs International Posture and WTC, which was shown to be significant in the Yashima studies. The present study also investigated how a learner's attitudes and perceptions of the L2, while immersed in the L2 community, can change over time and result in a change in WTC and its underlying antecedents; this was a variable that was not included in Yashima’s studies. Yashima et al.’s (2004) research instrument was adapted to the present ESL context. A total of 117 Korean learners of English participated in the study. With the use of SPSS AMOS 21.0, a path model was adapted from Yashima et al. (2004), to test the causal relationships among the variables. Pearson correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to analyse the learners’ attitudes across time. The results demonstrated that all relationships within the path model were significant, except the relationship between International Posture and L2 WTC. This result highlights that International Posture in predicting L2 WTC may not be as applicable in an ESL setting as it is in an EFL setting. A number of sociocultural factors may be at play that an EFL environment cannot account for. It was also shown that Intercultural Friendship Orientation, a variable associated with International Posture, showed higher scores for participants who had been in Australia a shorter time than a longer time. It was also shown that participants who had stayed longer in the L2 environment showed higher scores in Perceived Competence than shorter staying participants. Based on the findings, the significance of the study, its limitations, and suggestions for further research are laid out.