Dissecting subjective L2 (un)willingness to communicate among EFL learners: a Q methodology study

SOLHİ M., Thumvichit A.

Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 2024 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01434632.2024.2349802
  • Journal Name: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, Communication & Mass Media Index, Communication Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, DIALNET
  • Keywords: English as a foreign language, language learning, Q methodology, Willingness to communicate
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


This study used Q methodology to explore the subjective perspectives of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners regarding sources of willingness to communicate (WTC). A sample of 40 undergraduate students enrolled in an English language teaching program at a Turkish university was obtained. Based on their shared viewpoints, the participants were clustered into three groups: self-assured communicators, motivated communicators, and nervous communicators. Self-assured communicators exhibited high levels of self-confidence, while motivated communicators displayed strong and unwavering motivation to improve their speaking skills. Nervous communicators, on the other hand, showed noticeable signs of anxiety, impeding their WTC. This study provides evidence that an amalgamation of internal and external factors works in synergy to shape EFL learners’ WTC in the classroom. Recognising this interplay can lead to the development of targeted interventions and instructional approaches, improving L2 learners’ communicative behaviours. Understanding and addressing learners’ subjective experiences, particularly in relation to self-confidence, motivation, and anxiety, are key elements in enhancing their WTC and overall language proficiency.