• Enriching Structural Models of L2 Willingness to Communicate: The Role of Personality, Ego Permeability, and Perceived Distance

      Beglar, David; Childs, Marshall; Sawyer, Mark; Sick, James; Schaefer, Edward (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      Willingness to communicate (WTC) in a second language (L2) is crucial to the development of communicative speaking skills. This study is a cross-sectional investigation of the role in models of second language (L2) willingness to communicate of three personality variables hitherto underresearched in the L2 field: extroversion, ego permeability (one's capacity to tolerate ambiguity), and perceived distance from one's core persona. A sample of 252 Japanese university students responded to a set of instruments used to measure individual difference variables and personality variables; the instruments were drawn from the fields of L2 acquisition and psychology as well as a 5-item instrument designed to measure perceived distance in a series of participatory L2 speaking activities. Confirmatory factor analysis, Rasch analysis, and structural equation modeling were utilized to validate the respective instruments. The International Posture instrument was best represented by a two-factor configuration consisting of Intergroup Approach-Avoidance Tendency and Intercultural Friendship Orientation, while the L2 Communicative Confidence was altered to consist of three factors (L2 Anxiety, Perceived L2 Communicative Competence, and Extroversion). The hypothesized additions of Ego Permeability and Perceived Distance failed to improve the measurement models, and the original Ego Permeability variable functioned poorly in this context. The MacIntyre and Charos (1996) model had marginal fit to the data even after undergoing considerable respecification. The models of Yashima (2002) and Yashima, Zenuk-Nishide, and Shimizu (2004) were found to have good fit as originally conceptualized, but the addition of Extroversion and paths from International Posture and L2 Communicative Anxiety improved the fit of both models. Collectively, the results indicate that extroversion plays an important role in models of L2 WTC and that the basic models of Yashima and colleagues are robust. These findings provide crucial insights into the process of L2 WTC, an important factor in the students' acquisition of communicative competence.