The Role of Japanese National Identification in English as a Foreign Language Learner Motivation: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach
2013-01-22T12:55:08Z (GMT) by
Historically, Japan has toiled with issues of national identity and global positioning. Due to the ongoing processes of globalisation and internationalisation, issues of national identity remain at the forefront of various Japanese discourses, many of which are often positioned in relation to the protection and maintenance of an idealized Japanese national-self when confronted by the English language and English language speakers. This study documents an exploration of the role of four attitudinal facets of Japanese national identification (Commitment to National Heritage, Nationalism, Patriotism, and Internationalism) within an initial sample of 1123 Japanese university students in relation to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learner motivation. The study was situated within a foreign language learning context that promotes extensive intercultural contact opportunities with ‘native-English speakers’, the majority of whom originate from inner-circle (Kachru, 1985) countries. With a quantitative foundation, data was obtained from a single 35-item survey instrument and analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM) techniques. The data indicate that when an intercultural dimension is used to mediate EFL learner motivation, the role of the attitudinal facets of Japanese national identification is significant. However, when the role of the attitudinal facets of Japanese national identification is assessed more directly, focusing instead upon the contextual components of EFL learner motivation, then the impact of Japanese national identification is severely restricted except for the facet of ‘Internationalism’ which remains significant. Through a series of tested SEM models, a variety of interactions and outcomes are elaborated upon and discussed with a focus on highlighting the need for motivational research within the Japanese EFL context, especially within ‘native-English speaker’ dependent contexts, to consider national identification as a core component in the development and assessment of language learning attitudes and behaviours.