How Do I Satisfy the General Education Language Requirement? University Students' Attitudes Toward Language Study
Article first published online: 16 AUG 2010
© 2010 by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Inc.
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 43, Issue 3, pages 531–551, Fall 2010
How to Cite
Thomas, J. A. (2010), How Do I Satisfy the General Education Language Requirement? University Students' Attitudes Toward Language Study. Foreign Language Annals, 43: 531–551. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2010.01096.x
- Issue published online: 16 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 16 AUG 2010
- general education language requirement;
- language attitudes;
- second language learning
Abstract: This study aims to identify the two principal reasons why college students choose a certain language to satisfy a general education second language requirement by polling 172 students enrolled in first-year language courses in 13 languages at a large Northeastern research university. Students answered a questionnaire and chose the two main reasons from 10 choices articulated in sentimental, value, instrumental, and communicative dimensions. Cross-tabulations by SPSS showed significant statistical relationships between the attitudinal factors and the language studied. Spanish students strongly favored an instrumental orientation for both first and second choices. Danish, Dutch, French, Arabic, Russian, and German students also indicated instrumental preferences, but their second choices fell into other domains. Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, and Korean students favored communication factors, while Chinese students selected sentimental and communication reasons for their first and second choices, respectively.