An attitudinal study of English language learners toward English in a Japanese context

19th November 2019 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Natsuno Funada, University of Oxford

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room G/H

Convener: Hamish Chalmers

Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar Series


A growing number of studies continue to investigate learners’ attitudes toward English as an international language (EIL). There remain ambiguities, such as learners strongly preferring native-speaker English, while they have open attitudes toward EIL. The extant research instruments measure attitudes toward variation in English bounded by geographical location, but cannot capture the complex attitude formation in a global context. Based on a lack of suitable approaches, the Global Englishes orientation questionnaire (GEO-Q) was developed. After conducting pilot studies, the GEO-Q was modified for specific contexts (Japan) and was distributed to 660 Japanese university students. Exploratory factor analysis addressed five orientations: target communities, multilingualism, varieties of English, language standards, and native English. The GEO-Q included an adapted measure of language exposure and proficiency, to examine whether these were correlated with learners’ orientations. Regression analysis revealed all orientations were partly predicted by exposure. This indicated that learners who had been exposed to different varieties of English and EIL experiences were more open to EIL and its usage. Proficiency was negatively correlated with standards, demonstrating that lower proficiency students held more prescriptive attitudes. The nine focus-group interviews supported the quantitative results. This further revealed that the quality of EIL exposure was important. The rationale behind the ambiguity of attitudes included the learners’ traditional mindsets that are deeply rooted in their personal views of English usage in the current world.


Natsuno Funada is a DPhil candidate in the Department of Education, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Prior to coming to Oxford, Natsuno taught Japanese and English in universities in the U.S. and Japan for four years. Her research interests have focused on beliefs regarding English language learning and teaching and attitudes towards English as a global language. She has presented her research in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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