A Path Analytic Exploration into Predictors of Willingness to Communicate among English as a Foreign Language Learners

Tutku Basoz *, Ismail Hakki Erten **
* Department of English Language Teaching, Balikesir University, Balikesir, Turkey.
** Department of English Language Teaching, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.
Periodicity:April - June'2020
DOI : https://doi.org/10.26634/jelt.10.2.16672


The present study explored the probable interrelationships between willingness to communicate in a second language (L2 WTC), ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, L2 learning experience, imagery capacity, L2 motivation, L2 anxiety, vocabulary size, and course achievement through path analysis. This quantitative study was carried out with 701 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners studying at a state university in Turkey. A composite survey instrument and a vocabulary test were used to collect the data. The hypothesized path model of L2 WTC was found to show good fit to the data. The study marked the first step towards demonstrating the significant effect of imagery capacity on L2 WTC. Both direct and indirect influences of L2 motivation and ideal L2 self on L2 WTC were revealed. Pedagogical implications of the results and possible suggestions for further research were provided.


Willingness to Communicate in English, Individual Difference Variables, EFL Learners, Affective Factors, Linguistic Factors.

How to Cite this Article?

Basoz, T., and Erten, I. H. (2020). A Path Analytic Exploration into Predictors of Willingness to Communicate Among English as a Foreign Language Learners. i-manager's Journal on English Language Teaching, 10(2), 36-53. https://doi.org/10.26634/jelt.10.2.16672


[1]. Al-Shehri, A. S. (2009). Motivation and vision: The relation between the ideal L2 self, imagination and visual style. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 164-171). United Kingdom: MPG Books Ltd.
[2]. Bahadori, M., & Hashemizadeh, S. M. (2018). Relationship among Self-perceived Oral Competence, Communication Apprehension, and Iranian EFL Learners' Willingness to Communicate: Cooperative teaching in focus. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 6(21), 75-96.
[3]. Brislin, R. W. (1980). Translation and content analysis of oral and written material. In H. C. Triandis & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology, (pp. 389-444). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
[4]. Brown, T. A. (2015). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: Guilford Press.
[5]. Bursalı, N. & Öz, H. (2017). The relationship between Ideal L2 Self and Willingness to Communicate inside the Classroom. International Journal of Higher Education, 6(4), 229-239. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v6n4p229
[6]. Cao, Y.-Q. (2005). Willingness to communicate in a second language classroom. Unpublished master's thesis. The University of Auckland, Auckland, NewZealand.
[7]. Csizér, K., & Dörnyei, Z. (2005). Language learners' motivational profiles and their motivated learning behaviour. Language Learning, 55(4), 613-659. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.0023-8333.2005.00319.x
[8]. Csizér, K., & Kormos, J. (2009). Learning experiences, selves and motivated learning behavior: A comparative analysis of structural models for Hungarian secondary and university learners of English. In Z. D¨ornyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 98–119). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
[9]. Clément, R., Baker, S. C., & MacIntyre, P. D. (2003). Willingness to Communicate in a Second Language: The Effects of Context, Norms, and Vitality. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 22(2), 190-209. https://doi.org/10. 1177/0261927X03022002003
[10]. Çetinkaya, Y. B. (2005). Turkish college students' willingness to communicate in English as a foreign language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The Ohio State University, Colombus.
[11]. Demir Ayaz, A. (2016). The relationship between foreign language learners' future second language (L2) self-guides, language learning motivation and achievement. Unpublished master's thesis. Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.
[12]. Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[13]. Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The L2 Motivational Self System. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 9-42). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
[14]. Dörnyei, Z. (2010). Researching motivation: From integrativeness to the ideal L2 self. In S. Hunston & D. Oakey (Eds.), Introducing applied linguistics: Concepts and skills (pp. 74-83). London: Routledge.
[15]. Dörnyei, Z., & Chan, L. (2013). Motivation and vision: An analysis of future L2 self-images, sensory styles, and imagery capacity across two target languages. Language Learning, 63(3), 437-462. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12005
[16]. Dörnyei, Z., & Kubanyiova, M. (2014). Motivating learners, motivating teachers: Building vision in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[17]. Ellis, R. (2008). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
[18]. Fallah, N. (2014). Willingness to communicate in English, communication self-confidence, motivation, shyness and teacher immediacy among Iranian English-major undergraduates: A structural equation modeling approach. Learning and Individual Differences, 30, 140- 147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.12.006
[19]. Ghonsooly, B., Khajavy, G. H., & Asadpour, S. F. (2012). Willingness to Communicate in English among Iranian Non–English Major University Students. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 31(2), 197-211. https://doi.org/10. 1177/0261927X12438538
[20]. Graves, M. F. (2009). Teaching individual words: One size does not fit all. New York, NY: Teachers College Press and IRA.
[21]. Hashimoto, Y. (2002). Motivation and willingness to communicate as predictors of reported L2 use: The Japanese ESL context. Second Language Studies, 20(2), 29-70.
[22]. Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. The Modern Language Journal, 70(2), 125-132. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540- 4781.1986.tb05256.x
[23]. Kanat-Mutluoğlu, A. (2016). The Influence of Ideal L2 self, Academic Self-Concept and Intercultural Communicative Competence on Willingness to Communicate in a Foreign Language. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(2), 27-46. https://doi.org/10.32601/ ejal.461012
[24]. Kang, S. J. (2005). Dynamic emergence of situational willingness to communicate in a second language. System, 33(2), 277-292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system. 2004.10.004
[25]. 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. The Ohio State University, Colombus.
26]. Kim, T. Y. (2009). Korean elementary school students' perceptual learning style, ideal L2 self, and motivated behavior. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics, 9(3), 261-286.
[27]. Kim, Y. K., & Kim, T. Y. (2011). The effect of Korean secondary school students' perceptual learning styles and ideal L2 self on motivated L2 behavior and English proficiency. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics, 11(1), 21-42. https://doi.org/10.15738/kjell.11. 1.201103.21
[28]. Krashen, S. D. (1987). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. United Kingdom: Prentice- Hall International.
[29]. Kunnan, A. J. (1998). An introduction to structural equation modelling for language assessment research. Language Testing, 15(3), 295–332. https://doi.org/10. 1177/026553229801500302
[30]. 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. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540- 4781.2007.00623.x
[31]. MacIntyre, P. D., Babin, P. A., & Clément, R. (1999). Willingness to communicate: Anteced ents & Consequences. Communication Quarterly, 47(2), 215- 229. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379909370135
[32]. MacIntyre, P. D., Baker, S. C., Clément, R., & Conrod, S. (2001). Willingness to communicate, social support, and language-learning orientations of immersion students. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 23(3), 369-388. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263101003035
[33]. MacIntyre, P. D., Baker, S. C., Clément, R., & Donovan, L. A. (2002). Sex and age effects on willingness to communicate, anxiety, perceived competence, and L2 motivation among junior high school French immersion students. Language Learning, 52(3), 537-564. https://doi. org/10.1111/1467-9922.00194
[34]. MacIntyre, P. D., Baker, S., Clément, R., & Donovan, L. (2003). Talking in order to learn: Willingness to communicate and intensive language programs. Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(4), 589-608. https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.59.4.589
[35]. MacIntyre, P. D., & Charos, C. (1996). Personality, attitudes, and affect as predictors of second language communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 15(1), 3-26. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X960151001
[36]. MacIntyre, P. D., & Clément, R. (1996). A model of willingness to communicate in a second language: The concept, its antecedents and implications. Paper presented at the 11th World Congress of Applied Linguistics, Jyväskylä, Finland.
[37]. MacIntyre, P. D., & Doucette, J. (2010). Willingness to communicate and action control. System, 38(2), 161-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2009.12.013
[38]. MacIntyre, P. D., Dörnyei, Z., Clément, R., & Noels, K. A. (1998). Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in an L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. The Modern Language Journal, 82(4), 545-562. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1998.tb05543.x
[39]. Magid, M., & Chan, L. (2012). Motivating English learners by helping them visualize their ideal L2 self: Lessons from two motivational programmes. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 113–125. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2011.614693
[40]. Mahmoodi, M. H., & Moazam, I. (2014). Willingness to Communicate (WTC) and L2 Achievement: The Case of Arabic Language Learners. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1069-1076. https://doi.org/10. 1016/j.sbspro.2014.03.518
[41]. Matsuoka, R. (2005). Japanese college students' willingness to communicate in English. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Temple University, Philadelphia.
[42]. Munezane, Y. (2013). Attitudes, affect and ideal L2 self as predictors of willingness to communicate. EUROSLA Yearbook, 13(1), 176-198. https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla. 13.09mun
[43]. Nagy, W., & Townsend, D. (2012). Words as tools: Learning academic vocabulary as language acquisition. Reading Research Quarterly, 47(1), 91-108. https://doi.org/ 10.1002/RRQ.011
[44]. Noels, K. A. (2009). The internalisation of language learning into the self and social identity. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 295-313). Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847691293-016
[45]. Öz, H. (2014). Big Five personality traits and willingness to communicate among foreign language learners in Turkey. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 42(9), 1473-1482. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp. 2014.42.9.1473
[46]. Öz, H. (2016). Role of the ideal L2 self in predicting willingness to communicate of EFL students. In İ. H. Mirici, İ. H. Erten, H. Öz, & I. Vodopija-Krstanovic (Eds.), Research papers as an Additional Language (pp. 163-182). Rijeka: Faculty of Humanities and Social Research.
[47]. Öz, H., Demirezen, M., & Pourfeiz, J. (2015). Willingness to communicate of EFL learners in Turkish context, Learning and Individual Differences, 37, 269-275. https://doi.org/10. 1016/j.lindif.2014.12.009
[48]. Pallant, J. (2010). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS. Maidenhead: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.
[49]. Papi, M. (2010). The L2 motivational self system, L2 anxiety, and motivated behavior: A structural equation modeling approach. System, 38(3), 467–479. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.system.2010.06.011
[50]. Papi, M., & Teimouri, Y. (2012). Dynamics of selves and motivation: a cross‐sectional study in the EFL context of Iran. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 22(3), 287- 309. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2012.00312.x
[51]. Peng, J. E. (2007). Willingness to communicate in the Chinese EFL classroom: A cultural perspective. In J. Liu (Ed.), English language teaching in China: New approaches, perspectives and standards (pp. 250-269). London: Continuum.
[52]. Peng, J. E. (2015). L2 Motivational Self System, Attitudes, and Affect as Predictors of L2 WTC: An Imagined Community Perspective. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 24(2), 433-443. https://doi.org/10.1007/ s40299-014-0195-0
[53]. Peng, J. E. (2012). Towards an ecological understanding of willingness to communicate in EFL classrooms in China. System, 40(2), 203-213. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.system.2012.02.002
[54]. Peng, J. E., & Woodrow, L. (2010). Willingness to communicate in English: A model in the Chinese EFL classroom context. Language Learning, 60(4), 834-876. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00576.x
[55]. Rastegar, M., & Karami, M. (2015). On the Relationship between Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety, Willingness to Communicate and Scholastic Success among Iranian EFL Learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(11), 2387-2394. https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0511.25
[56]. Raykov, T., & Marcoulides, G. A. (2006). A first course in structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.
[57]. Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[58]. Richardson, A. (1994). Individual differences in imaging: Their measurement, origins, and consequences. Amityville, NY: Baywood.
[59]. Ryan, S. (2009). Self and identity in L2 motivation in Japan: The ideal L2 self and Japanese learners of English. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self, (pp.120-143). United Kingdom: MPG Books Ltd.
[60]. Ryan, S. & Dörnyei, Z. (2013). The long-term evolution of language motivation and the L2 self. In A. Berndt (Ed.), Fremdsprachen in der perspektive lebenslangen lernens (pp. 89-100). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
[61]. Schmitt, N., Schmitt, D., & Clapham, C. (2001). Developing and exploring the behaviour of two new versions of the Vocabulary Levels Test. Language Testing, 18(1), 55-88. https://doi.org/10.1177/026553220101800103
[62]. Seliger, H. W. (1977). Does practice make perfect? A study of interaction patterns and L2 competence. Language Learning, 27(2), 263-278. https://doi.org/10. 1111/j.1467-1770.1977.tb00122.x
[63]. Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second language learning. London: Edward Arnold.
[64]. Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & C. Madden (Eds.), Input and second language acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
[65]. Şener, S. (2014). Willingness to communicate in English as a foreign language among ELT students in Turkey. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, Turkey.
[66]. 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. 9–42). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
[67]. Takač, V. P., & Požega, D. (2011). Personality traits, willingness to communicate and oral proficiency in English as a foreign language. In L. Pon, V. Karabalić, & S. Cimer (Eds.), Applied linguistics today: Research and perspectives (pp. 67-82). Berlin, Germany: Lang.
[68]. Ueki, M., & Takeuchi, O. (2013). Forming a clearer image of the ideal L2 self: the L2 Motivational Self System and learner autonomy in a Japanese EFL context. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 7(3), 238- 252. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2013.836205
[69]. Ushioda, E., & Dörnyei, Z. (2009). Motivation, language identities and the L2 self: A Theoretical Overview. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 1-8). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
[70]. Yashima, T. (2002). Willingness to communicate in a second language: The Japanese EFL context. The Modern Language Journal, 86(1), 54-66. https://doi.org/10.1111/ 1540-4781.0013
[71]. Yashima, T., Zenuk‐ Nishide, L., & Shimizu, K. (2004). The influence of attitudes and affect on willingness to communicate and second language communication. Language Learning, 54(1), 119-152. https://doi.org/10. 1111/j.1467-9922.2004.00250.x
[72]. Yu, H., Li, H., & Gou, X. (2011). The personality-based variables and their correlations underlying willingness to communicate. Asian Social Science, 7(3), 253-257. https:// doi.org/10.5539/ass.v7n3p253
[73]. Yu, M. (2009). Willingness to communicate of foreign language learners in a Chinese setting. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Florida State University, Florida, United States.
[74]. Zheng, Y. (2008). Anxiety and second/foreign language learning revisited. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education/Revue canadienne des jeunes chercheures et chercheurs en education, 1(1), 1-12.

Purchase Instant Access

Single Article

North Americas,UK,
Middle East,Europe
India Rest of world
Pdf 35 35 200 20
Online 35 35 200 15
Pdf & Online 35 35 400 25

If you have access to this article please login to view the article or kindly login to purchase the article
Options for accessing this content:
  • If you would like institutional access to this content, please recommend the title to your librarian.
    Library Recommendation Form
  • If you already have i-manager's user account: Login above and proceed to purchase the article.
  • New Users: Please register, then proceed to purchase the article.