Cross-cultural insights into Korean and Swedish secondary school students' willingness to communicate in a second language

Ju Seong LEE, Liss Kerstin SYLVÉN, Kilryoung LEE

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Abstract

Although there have been several comparative studies of willingness to communicate in a first language (L1 WTC), there is a dearth of comparative research on L2 WTC, especially between groups with distinct cultural and educational backgrounds. This study synthesises the L2 motivational self system (ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self) and attitudes toward English accents to see how they are linked with L2 WTC between Korean (n = 382) and Swedish (n = 144) secondary students (aged 16–19 years) using a cross-culturally valid and reliable instrument. After controlling for demographic factors, hierarchical regression analyses were conducted separately in two samples. Results revealed that ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and attitudes toward English accents were significantly predictive of Koreans' L2 WTC, while only ideal L2 self predicted Swedish' L2 WTC. It suggests that Korean and Swedish students, who hold vivid ideal L2 self-images, tend to initiate English communication in the classroom. However, Korean students, who study English to meet others' expectations and hold positive attitudes toward diverse English accents (including their own), are likely to initiate communication in English. These results inform context-specific pedagogical implications, and suggest novel future research directions. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Early online dateJan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2020

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Citation

Lee, J. S., Sylvén, L. K., & Lee, K. (2020). Cross-cultural insights into Korean and Swedish secondary school students' willingness to communicate in a second language. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2019.1708917

Keywords

  • Willingness to communicate in L2
  • L2 motivational self system
  • Attitudes toward English accents
  • Comparative study