The ideal L2 selves of Japanese learners of English

Ryan, Stephen (2008) The ideal L2 selves of Japanese learners of English. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis attempts to reinterpret language learning motivation through a consideration of the possibilities of applying theories of the self to L2 motivation theory. There were two overriding aims guiding my research; firstly to empirically test theoretical proposals suggesting that the concept of an ideal L2 self may represent a more effective base for understanding L2 motivation, and secondly to explore the possibilities suggested by this approach within the context of the Japanese English learning context.

The study was designed using a mixed methods approach, with a primary quantitative research instrument being supported by secondary qualitative data. The main quantitative instrument was a large-scale (n= 2,397) nationwide attitudinal questionnaire. The qualitative data was collected from three sets of semi-structured interviews with a total of 23 learners of English in Japan.

Analysis of the quantitative data provided convincing support for claims that the ideal L2 self represents a viable and improved base from which to understand the motivation to learn English. The data showed the ideal L2 self to be the central element of the learner's sense of emotional identification with the values associated with a language and its speakers and to be one of the principal variables affecting efforts to learn. The research also found that in the Japanese English learning context, a significant factor in the construction of learners' ideal L2 self beliefs and motivated behaviour was perceived conflicts between national identity beliefs and English abilities; conflicts which manifested themselves in the provision of English education and learners' immediate social relationships.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Dornyei, Z.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Second language learning, motivation, English education, Japanese learners
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English Studies
ID Code:550
Deposited By:Stephen Ryan
Deposited On:11 Aug 2008
Last Modified:06 Feb 2009 14:44

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