Willingness to Communicate in the Second Language Acquisition: A Case Study on Iranian 2-Year Old Kids

Authors

Tehran Azad University

Abstract

Individual’s first language (L1) and second language (L2) communication could
be affected by Willingness to Communicate (WTC) which is considered an
influential factor affecting one’s second language development. Studying various
aspects of WTC has been the home of choice for the researchers in the SLA domain
(e.g., Clement, Dornyei, and Noels, 1998; McCroskey, & Baer, 1985; Kang, 2005;
MacIntyre,;MacIntyre, 2007, Yashima, 2002). Yet, WTC is poor in terms research
in the area of kids’ SLA. The present research is a qualitative attempt focusing
on the concept of WTC among kids in an Iranian context. The review of the
literature revealed that no valid instrument for measuring the kid’s WTC exists.
Thus, a qualitative WTC study was designed to evaluate “the WTC construct”(cf.
Mcroskey& Baer, 1985) in the kids developing an L2. The assumption based on
which the study was framed was that WTC is both a personality trait as well as a
socio- culturally oriented factor. Therefore the WTC scale designed by Mcroskey&
Baer (1985) was modified to fit the kid’s situation and a WTC measuring
instrument was developed to measure WTC in kids, presupposing that in case
WTC is a personality trait it should be fairly consistent in various situations and
contexts
.
The scale designed included four communication contexts: classroom,
family settings, Iranian out of home context, and travelling to foreign countries
and two types of receivers: stranger, acquaintance. The situations selected based
on the scale were presented to the parents to select the most likely behavior and
choices of the kids distinctly. The participants of the study were two 21- month-old
sisters (non-identical twins) whose parents were willing to make them bilingual.
They were trained for 7 months based on the Mom & Baby method of English
language learning program developed by Amiri (2008).Films of classroom,
interviews with parents, and observations were analyzed and classified through the
frequency tables. The results of the study revealed that WTC could be considered
both a personality factor and a social characteristic which affects L2 development
among kids.

Keywords