Motivation and attitudes in learning Japanese in New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This study was conducted to examine the influence of motivation and attitudes on grades in Japanese language. The subjects were 164 University students learning Japanese as a foreign language in New Zealand: Stage 1 beginners, Stage 1 non-beginners, Stage 2 students and Stage 3 students. A questionnaire was administered to assess motivation for learning Japanese, attitudes towards Japan and Japanese people, experience of Japanese language study, the amount of exposure to Japanese language and self-perception of Japanese language learning. Both integrative and instrumental motivation was found to influence achievement in Japanese. The effects of instrumental motivation were attributed to the existence of good career prospects in tourism industry or the educational sector in New Zealand. Motivational variables were found to be more powerful predictors of success in learning Japanese than attitude variables which were found to be more related to the language context and only indirectly related to achievement in Japanese. Other variables such as "years of previous study" and "time spent in Japan" were found to be significantly related to achievement in Japanese and to level of integrative motivation. It was also found that most of the students experienced difficulty in learning the audiolingual aspects of Japanese language study. It was suggested that it was important for learners in a foreign language context to have opportunities for personal contact with the target people and to get actual exposure to the target language in order to be integratively motivated and to improve their language ability.