University Student Perceptions of Learning English as an International Language

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  • Title: University Student Perceptions of Learning English as an International Language
  • Author(s): Hsuan-Yau Tony Lai, Chieko Kawauchi
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education
  • Keywords: Perceptions, English as an International Language, Ideal Learning Goal, Preferred English Varieties, Intercultural Communication
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-7955 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8749 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7955/CGP/v26i02/57-72
  • Citation: Lai, Hsuan-Yau Tony , and Chieko Kawauchi. 2019. "University Student Perceptions of Learning English as an International Language." The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education 26 (2): 57-72. doi:10.18848/2327-7955/CGP/v26i02/57-72.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

This study investigated the perceptions of Japanese university students regarding the ownership of English, varieties of English, native English speakers’ norms in the English classroom, ideal learning goals, and preferred Englishes. A survey was conducted at a medium-sized university in Fukuoka, Japan. A total of 322 students (201 non-English majors and 121 English majors) participated in this study. The results show some contradictory findings. The majority of the students agree with the native speaking ownership of English; however, they also agree that it is a language shared by anyone speaking it. In terms of varieties of English, most students in the study agree that Standard English means American or British English; however, they also agree that there should be varieties of English. In regard to students’ ideal learning goals, the students believe that having smooth communication is more important than memorising grammar rules. When asked for their preferred English varieties, most students chose American English (50.3%), followed by British English (17.1%) and no preference (10.9%). A t-test was further used to examine whether students’ gender and majors impacted their perceptions. This paper will consider the possible implications for English language professionals.