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Fluctuations in Japanese English majors’ capacity to speak before, during and after studying abroad

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-05, 16:08 authored by Simon Humphries, Scott Aubrey, Jim King

Mixed results in target language oral proficiency gains during study abroad (SA) have provided an impetus for further research into factors affecting L2 speech, such as the situated willingness to communicate (WTC) of individual learners. However, it is essential to address changes longitudinally to understand learners’ speaking experiences before SA and whether the sojourn has lasting effects. Using retrospective timeline graphs, focused essay journals and exploratory interviews, we investigated the fluctuations in the capacity to speak (CTS) for two Japanese learners of English from their pre-tertiary education through to 12 months after their academic year abroad as undergraduate university students. Results indicated that participants struggled initially with spontaneous conversations and incomprehension, but their sensitivity to interlocutors became the strongest influence as proficiency improved. During SA, they tended to have a high CTS when speaking with other L2 English speakers but struggled with local anglophones. After SA, they preferred speaking to international students (including L1 English users) in social rather than classroom contexts. We outline the psychological and situational influences and suggest ways to support learners before and after their sojourn.



Funding

JSPS KAKENHI [grant number 21K00721]

History

Author affiliation

School of Education, University of Leicester

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

System

Volume

113

Publisher

Elsevier

issn

0346-251X

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2024-03-05

Language

en

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