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A study of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards their English

A study of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards their English
A study of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards their English
English is currently used as a global lingua franca (ELF), involving people from diverse socio-linguacultural backgrounds (e.g., Jenkins, Cogo and Dewey 2011). However, as a former English teacher, I have observed that many Japanese students see no tangible connection between themselves and ELF. Indeed, they appeared overtly pejorative about their English. To investigate this issue, my research explores two questions: 1) How do Japanese university students orient to Japanese people’s English including their own? and 2) What factors are associated with the students’ orientations, and how do these factors work to form their orientations? People’s orientations to language are theorised as language attitudes; that is, the evaluative concepts directed to a linguistic phenomenon (e.g., Niedzielski and Preston 1999/2003; Preston 2010). To answer the research questions, 95 open-ended email questionnaires from Japanese university students were collected, and analysed through qualitative content analysis (e.g., Miles, Huberman and Saldaña 2014; Schreier 2012, 2014). Also, face-to-face conversational interview data with eighteen Japanese undergraduates was elicited and analysed through the combination of qualitative content analysis and Eggins and Slade’s (1997/2004) speech functions analysis framework. Two sets of negative attitudes became apparent in my participants. The first was the perceived prioritisation of, or a perceived obsession with, ‘correctness’ in ‘standard’ North American and possibly other English as a Native Language (ENL) at the expense of effective communication. The second was a deficit perspective on Japanese-influenced English use, generally without due regard to intelligibility. In addition, it was identified that the coupling of concentration on ENL norms and adherence to North American ENL may be the only way to experience English in Japanese society. Furthermore, based on the interview data, raising ELF awareness has a high potential to alleviate such negative attitudes as expressed by my participants. Implications, mainly in Japanese English education, are offered towards the end.
Ishikawa, Tomokazu
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Ishikawa, Tomokazu
d53b9ad1-a8e8-48fe-ae9d-39cc31072df8
Jenkins, Jennifer
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COGO, ALESSIA
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Kelly, Michael
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Ishikawa, Tomokazu (2015) A study of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards their English. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 344pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

English is currently used as a global lingua franca (ELF), involving people from diverse socio-linguacultural backgrounds (e.g., Jenkins, Cogo and Dewey 2011). However, as a former English teacher, I have observed that many Japanese students see no tangible connection between themselves and ELF. Indeed, they appeared overtly pejorative about their English. To investigate this issue, my research explores two questions: 1) How do Japanese university students orient to Japanese people’s English including their own? and 2) What factors are associated with the students’ orientations, and how do these factors work to form their orientations? People’s orientations to language are theorised as language attitudes; that is, the evaluative concepts directed to a linguistic phenomenon (e.g., Niedzielski and Preston 1999/2003; Preston 2010). To answer the research questions, 95 open-ended email questionnaires from Japanese university students were collected, and analysed through qualitative content analysis (e.g., Miles, Huberman and Saldaña 2014; Schreier 2012, 2014). Also, face-to-face conversational interview data with eighteen Japanese undergraduates was elicited and analysed through the combination of qualitative content analysis and Eggins and Slade’s (1997/2004) speech functions analysis framework. Two sets of negative attitudes became apparent in my participants. The first was the perceived prioritisation of, or a perceived obsession with, ‘correctness’ in ‘standard’ North American and possibly other English as a Native Language (ENL) at the expense of effective communication. The second was a deficit perspective on Japanese-influenced English use, generally without due regard to intelligibility. In addition, it was identified that the coupling of concentration on ENL norms and adherence to North American ENL may be the only way to experience English in Japanese society. Furthermore, based on the interview data, raising ELF awareness has a high potential to alleviate such negative attitudes as expressed by my participants. Implications, mainly in Japanese English education, are offered towards the end.

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More information

Published date: December 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 394667
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/394667
PURE UUID: 71938732-720d-468a-ab0c-f3f1242b54fd
ORCID for Michael Kelly: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7955-3860

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Date deposited: 06 Jul 2016 11:23
Last modified: 20 Sep 2018 00:36

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