Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


Whether Willingness to Communicate (WTC) is a permanent trait or is modified by situational context has previously been investigated in various studies (e.g. Cao & Philp, 2006; Kang, 2005; MacIntyre & Legatto, 2011). However, most research into WTC has been quantitative or conducted in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or Study Abroad situation in countries such as Canada, Japan, Korea and China. This article reports on the qualitative component of an exploratory mixed methods study in a New Zealand (NZ) university with participants who are permanent migrants from Iran. These students completed a questionnaire and participated in further in-depth semi-structured interviews. The article provides an overview of previous research into WTC and motivation in Iran and NZ as the context for these three case studies. In this study, six factors, both trait and situational, were identified as having an effect on these students’ WTC in both countries: self-perceived competence; personality; anxiety; motivation and the importance of English; and the learning context. Finally, this article discusses the contribution of this study to the WTC field of research, identifying the implications of these results for teachers of English in the ESL (English as a Second Language or migrant) context and possible avenues for future research.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ahmadi Darani, P.
    (2012) A critical look at the status of FLT in the Iranian context: Challenges and opportunities. Iranian EFL Journal, 8(1), 176–184.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Allwright, D. , & Bailey, K. M.
    (1996) Focus on the language classroom. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, S. , & MacIntyre, P.
    (2000) The role of gender and immersion in communication and second language learning. Language Learning, 50(2), 311–341. doi: 10.1111/0023‑8333.00119
    https://doi.org/10.1111/0023-8333.00119 [Google Scholar]
  4. Cao, Y.
    (2009) Understanding the notion of interdependence, and the dynamics of willingness to communicate. (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (2011) Investigating situational willingness to communicate within second language classrooms from an ecological perspective. System, 39(4), 468–479. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2011.10.016
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2011.10.016 [Google Scholar]
  6. Cao, Y. , & Philp, J.
    (2006) Interactional context and willingness to communicate: A comparison of behaviour in whole class, group and dyadic interaction. System, 34, 480–493. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2006.05.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2006.05.002 [Google Scholar]
  7. Dörnyei, Z.
    (2001) Teaching and researching motivationHarlow, England: Pearson Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. (2005) The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in Second Language Acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. (2007) Research methods in applied linguistics: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Oxford, England: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Ghassemi, E. , & Shahsavari, N.
    (2011) “What is not working?”. A study of students’ perceptions of problems and concerns over English language learning at Islamic Azad University, Hajiabad Branch. Iranian EFL Journal, 7(2), 41–52.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Ghorbani, M. R.
    (2007) ESL textbook evaluation and graphic representation. RetrievedNovember 29, 2010 from grenglish.blogfa.com/post-10.aspx
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Horwitz, E.
    (2010) Foreign and second language anxiety. Language Teaching, 43(2), 154–167. doi: 10.1017/S026144480999036X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S026144480999036X [Google Scholar]
  13. Kang, S.-J.
    (2005) Dynamic emergence of situational willingness to communicate in a second language. System, 33, 277–292. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2004.10.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2004.10.004 [Google Scholar]
  14. Kim, S. J.
    (2004) Exploring willingness to communicate (WTC) in English among Korean EFL (English as a foreign language) students in Korea: WTC as a predictor of success in second language acquisition (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Kuhl, J.
    (1994) A theory of action and state orientations. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Volition and personality (pp. 9–46). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. MacIntyre, P. D.
    (2007) Willingness to communicate in the second language: Understanding the decision to speak as a volitional process. The Modern Language Journal, 91(4), 564–576. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2007.00623.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2007.00623.x [Google Scholar]
  17. MacIntyre, P. D. , Clément, R. , Dörnyei, Z. , & Noels, K.
    (1998) Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. The Modern Language Journal, 82(4), 545–562. doi: 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.1998.tb05543.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1998.tb05543.x [Google Scholar]
  18. MacIntyre, P. D. , Clément, R. , & Noels, K. A.
    (2007) Affective variables, attitude and personality in context. In D. Ayoun (Ed.), Handbook of French applied linguistics (pp. 270–298). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/lllt.16.15mac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.16.15mac [Google Scholar]
  19. MacIntyre, P. D. , & Doucette, J.
    (2010) Willingness to communicate and action control, System, 38, 161–171. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2009.12.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2009.12.013 [Google Scholar]
  20. MacIntyre, P. D. , & Legatto, J. J.
    (2011) A dynamic system approach to willingness to communicate: Developing an idiodynamic method to capture rapidly changing affect. Applied Linguistics, 32(2), 149–171. doi: 10.1093/applin/amq037
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amq037 [Google Scholar]
  21. Maleki, A. , & Zangani, E.
    (2007) A survey on the relationship between English Language proficiency and the academic achievement of Iranian EFL students. Asian EFL Journal, 9, 86–96.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Matsuoka, R.
    (2005) Willingness to communicate among Japanese college students. Proceedings of the 10th Conference of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 151–159.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Moiinzavari, M.
    (2008) Motivational orientation in English language learning: A study of Iranian undergraduate students. Global practices of language teaching. In A. Shafaei & M. Nejati , (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Online Language Conference (IOLC 2008) (pp. 126–135). Boca Raton, FA: Universal Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Ortega, L.
    (2009) Understanding second language acquisition. London, England: Hodder Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Papi, M.
    (2010) The L2 motivational self system, L2 anxiety, and motivated behavior: A structural equation modeling approach. System, 38, 467–479. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2010.06.011
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2010.06.011 [Google Scholar]
  26. Papi, M. , & Abdollahzadeh, E.
    (2012) Teacher motivational practice, student motivation, and possible L2 selves: An examination in the Iranian EFL context. Language Learning, 62(2), 571–594. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9922.2011.00632.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011.00632.x [Google Scholar]
  27. Peng, J.
    (2007) Willingness to communicate in an L2 and integrative motivation among college students in an intensive English language program in China. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 2, 33–59.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Razmjoo, S. A.
    (2007) High schools’ or private institutes’ textbooks? Which fulfill communicative language teaching principles in the Iranian context?Asian EFL Journal, 9(4), 126–140.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Riasati, M. J.
    (2012) EFL learners’ perceptions of factors influencing willingness to speak English in language classrooms: A qualitative study. World Applied Sciences Journal, 17(10), 1287–1297.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Taguchi, T. , Magid, M. , & Papi, M.
    (2009) The L2 motivational self system among Japanese, Chinese and Iranian learners of English: A comparative study. In Z. Dörnyei , & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 Self (pp. 66–97). Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters, Bristol.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Vaezi, S.
    (2007, November) Communicative language teaching: In the Middle East?Paper presented atthe LED conference, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Vaezi, S. , & Sadeghilar, N.
    (2009, October) Willingness to communicate. Paper presented atthe TELLSI 7 Conference, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Vaezi, Z.
    (2008) Language learning motivation among Iranian undergraduate students. World Applied Science Journal, 5, 54–61.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Wen, W. , & Clément, R.
    (2003) A Chinese conceptualisation of willingness to communicate in ESL. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 16(1), 18–38. doi: 10.1080/07908310308666654
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310308666654 [Google Scholar]
  35. Yashima, T.
    (2002) Willingness to communicate in a second language: The Japanese EFL context. The Modern Language Journal, 86(1), 54–67. doi: 10.1111/1540‑4781.00136
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-4781.00136 [Google Scholar]
  36. Yashima, T. , & Zenuk-Nishide, L.
    (2008) The impact of learning contexts on proficiency, attitudes, and L2 communication: Creating an imagined international community. System, 36(4), 566–585. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2008.03.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2008.03.006 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): case studies; L2 motivation; L2 willingness to communicate
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error