Language attitude studies involving non-native speakers of English have been criticised for not providing potentially determining social details about their samples. Information of this type is particularly important when conducting language attitude research amongst Japanese learners as there is currently a paradigm shift in Japan more generally, resulting in a movement away from the formerly dominant 'group model' towards the provision of information on social variation amongst the population.
This talk presents the results of an in-depth quantitative study into the attitudes of 558 Japanese university students towards six varieties of English speech. The role of differences in the informants' gender, level of self-perceived proficiency in English, level of exposure to English, regional provenance and perceptions of L1 on their language attitudes is examined. The findings are discussed in relation to the pedagogical and language planning implications for the choice of linguistic model in English language inside Japan and in terms of the methodological importance of the study for potential future attitudinal research in this area.
Robert McKenzie is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the Language Centre University of Glasgow.