Youth and the Study of Foreign Language: An Investigation of Attitudes



ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to assess the attitudes of elementary and middle school students toward foreign language (FL) study. A questionnaire, designed to measure student attitudes toward FL study and perceived parental support, was administered to 209 youth in grades three through eight, in two different school populations within the San Francisco Bay Area. The results of t-tests show that students with home languages other than English demonstrated more positive attitudes toward FL and a higher degree of perceived parental support for their FL program than did students whose home language was English. There were no gender differences found on the total attitude score. However, a difference between the two school populations emerged, with students at School 1 scoring significantly higher on the attitude scale and reporting more parent support than students at School 2. The implications of the study are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.