Emotional factors in senior L2 acquisition: A case study of Japanese speakers learning Spanish

  • Emi Shibuya School of Foreign Language Studies Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, 9 Chome-1 Gakuen Higashimachi Nishi-ku, Kobe-shi Hyogo-ken 651-2187 Japan
Keywords: Emotional factors, Senior L2 learning, Japanese L2 learners, Introspective diaries on language learning, Qualitative research on L2 acquisition

Abstract

Aim. This research tries to explore whether a training course on tour guiding in a foreign language designed for senior learners could maximize their life experience, knowledge, and motivation (Author, 2018, 2019). The discussion argues that language learning for older adults is to be considered not only from cognitive aspects, but also from emotional and social aspects, since these are malleable and susceptible of being changed by the teaching method and the teacher's skills.

Method. We discuss the case of senior Japanese learners of L2 Spanish through their questionnaires, class observations and introspective materials. Literature regarding emotional factors such as tolerance to ambiguity is reviewed. Also, we further focus on the social factors including gender divide, a major issue in Japanese society that affects the older generation in particular.

Results. We used the Multidimensional Mood State Questionnaire (MDMQ questionnaire, English version of Der Mehrdimensionale Befindlichkeitsfragebogen MDBF; Steyer, Schwenkmezger, Notz, and Eid, 1997) to determine their mood before and after the course 5 times in total. We also introduce 4 learners’ cases (2 female and 2 male learners) including introspective materials results from senior learners showing their Spanish level transition.

Conclusion. A content-based course linked to practical occasions to be a volunteer tour guide seems not simple for the students and some learners felt ambiguous with regards to contents; however, independently of their Spanish level, they tried to find simple and alternative ways to manage the conversations or explanations. Some typical cultural and social factors in Japan, learners’ language level, experience, knowledge, and emotional factors seem more important elements for the creation of class atmosphere in this content-based L2 learning.

Author Biography

Emi Shibuya, School of Foreign Language Studies Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, 9 Chome-1 Gakuen Higashimachi Nishi-ku, Kobe-shi Hyogo-ken 651-2187 Japan

Doctoral student at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. She also teaches English at several universities in Japan. Her doctoral research focuses on L2 learning by older adults in foreign languages other than English (such as Spanish and French). The goal of her project is implementing a method that leads older adults to foreign language learning through maximizing their life experience and knowledge in the classroom. In this way, her research contributes to the necessary lifelong learning in the Japanese aging society and empowers older adults to exercise active roles like those of volunteer tourist guides in foreign languages. 

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Published
2020-06-27
How to Cite
Shibuya, E. (2020). Emotional factors in senior L2 acquisition: A case study of Japanese speakers learning Spanish. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 11(1), 353-369. https://doi.org/10.15503/jecs2020.1.353.369
Section
LOCAL CULTURES AND SOCIETIES