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Willingness to Communicate in a Second Language: The Japanese EFL Context


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Willingness to communicate (WTC) is emerging as a concept to account for individuals’ first language (L1) and second language (L2) communication. This study examined relations among L2 learning and L2 communication variables in the Japanese English as a foreign language context using the WTC model and the socioeducational model as a framework. A L2 communication model was constructed and tested using AMOS version 4.0, with a sample of 297 Japanese university students. In the model, a latent variable, international posture, was hypothesized to capture the general attitude toward the international community and foreign language learning in Japan. From structural equation modeling, it appeared that international posture influences motivation, which, in turn, influences proficiency in English. Motivation affected self-confidence in L2 communication which led to willingness to communicate in a L2. In addition to this indirect path, a direct path from international posture to WTC in a L2 was significant. The model’s fitness to the data was good, which indicates the potential for using the WTC and other constructs to account for L2 communication.
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Willingness to Communicate in a
Second Language:
The Japanese EFL Context
Institute of Foreign Language Education and
Kansai University
3-3-35, Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564-8680
Willingness to communicate (WTC) is emerging as a concept to account for individuals’ first
language (L1) and second language (L2) communication. This study examined relations
among L2 learning and L2 communication variables in the Japanese English as a foreign
language context using the WTC model and the socioeducational model as a framework. A L2
communication model was constructed and tested using AMOS version 4.0, with a sample of
297 Japanese university students. In the model, a latent variable, international posture, was
hypothesized to capture the general attitude toward the international community and foreign
language learning in Japan. From structural equation modeling, it appeared that international
posture influences motivation, which, in turn, influences proficiency in English. Motivation
affected self-confidence in L2 communication which led to willingness to communicate in a
L2. In addition to this indirect path, a direct path from international posture to WTC in a L2
was significant. The model’s fitness to the data was good, which indicates the potential for
using the WTC and other constructs to account for L2 communication.
differences in second language (L2) acquisition
has demonstrated the influence of affective vari-
ables, including attitudes, motivation, and lan-
guage anxiety on achievement or proficiency.
A recent addition to the affective constructs is
willingness to communicate (WTC), which is emerg-
ing as a concept useful in accounting for indi-
viduals’ first language (L1) and L2 communica-
tion. The concept, first developed in L1
communication by McCroskey and his associates
(McCroskey, 1992; McCroskey & Richmond,
1987) was applied to L2 communication by
MacIntyre and Charos (1996). As the emphasis in
L2 teaching and learning has been shifting to
communication, both as a necessary process and
as a goal of learning a L2, a way to account for
individual differences in L2 communication is
needed. MacIntyre and Charos (1996) and
MacIntyre and Clément (1996) demonstrated the
possibility by combining insights from two disci-
plines, L2 acquisition and communication.
In Japan, as the Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science, and Techonology’s guidelines for
foreign language (mostly English) teaching
within the school education curriculum (Mon-
busho, 1989, 1999a, 1999b) have placed increas-
ing emphasis on communication, a greater por-
tion of textbooks and classroom activities has
focused on face-to-face interaction in hypotheti-
cal intercultural contact situations. It is expected
that English will cease to be considered as simply
a knowledge-based subject, which it has long
been in Japan.
When communication is a goal of language
instruction, such questions as “communication
with whom?” and “for what?” arise, and a social
psychological perspective becomes relevant in an-
swering them. In addition to motivation and atti-
tudes toward the people with whom students will
The Modern Language Journal, 86, i, (2002)
0026-7902/02/54–66 $1.50/0
©2002 The Modern Language Journal
communicate, WTC, psychology of communica-
tion, and intercultural postures need to be exam-
ined as variables that affect communication out-
The present study is an attempt to examine the
relationships among the variables believed to af-
fect Japanese learners’ WTC in English. The con-
cept WTC refers to the tendency of an individual
to initiate communication when free to do so
(McCroskey & Richmond, 1987, 1990). The con-
cept could include communication in written
forms, but this study focused on face-to-face com-
munication or, more specifically, talking in a L2.
MacIntyre’s WTC model and Gardner’s so-
cioeducational model served as basic frameworks
for this study, but concepts and components of L2
learning attitudes were redefined in reference to
the Japanese ethnolinguistic context.
Language Anxiety and Communication
Apprehension in a L2
Different types of L2-related anxiety, including
classroom anxiety, test anxiety, and use anxiety,
have shown negative relationships to L2 achieve-
ment (Clément, Dörnyei, & Noels, 1994;
Clément, Gardner, & Smythe, 1977; Horwitz,
Horwitz, & Cope, 1986; MacIntyre & Gardner,
1991, 1994). The Foreign Language Classroom
Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) developed by Hor witz,
Horwitz, and Cope (1986) is designed to assess
three components of anxiety: communication ap-
prehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative
evaluation. The inclusion of communication ap-
prehension in this scale assumes that the commu-
nication is taking place in a classroom setting,
which may provoke anxiety. From a language
learning perspective, the more one communi-
cates, the more practice one has in talking and
the more one learns (Brown, 1987; Rubin &
Thompson, 1994). In addition to communication
as a necessary process for learning to talk, in
order to account for communication as a goal of
L2 learning, we need to examine anxiety result-
ing from communicating in a L2.
WTC in a L2
Communication apprehension in a L1 and its
negative influence on communication have been
a matter of scholarly attention by communication
researchers (Daly & McCroskey, 1984;
McCroskey, 1977). Fairly recently, McCroskey and
associates (e.g., McCroskey, 1992; McCroskey &
Richmond, 1990) proposed the construct, WTC,
that captures the major implication that commu-
nication apprehension, introversion, reticence,
and shyness have for communicative behavior.
MacIntyre (1994) developed a path model that
postulates that WTC is based on a combination of
greater perceived communicative competence
and a lower level of communication anxiety (Fig-
ure 1). He then applied this model to L2 commu-
nication and showed that anxiety about L2 com-
munication and perceived L2 communicative
competence consistently predicted WTC in a L2.
Studies conducted in various Canadian contexts
combined the WTC model with Gardner’s so-
cioeducational model to examine the relations
among variables underlying WTC in a L2. In
these studies, WTC was a predictor of frequency
of communication in a L2, whereas motivation
was a predictor of WTC, frequency of communi-
cation in a L2, or both (MacIntyre & Charos,
1996; MacIntyre & Clément, 1996; see Figure 2 as
an example). MacIntyre did not regard WTC in a
Portion of MacIntyre’s (1994) Willingness to Communicate Model
Tomoko Yashima 55
L2 as a simple manifestation of WTC in a L1; a
much greater range of communicative compe-
tence is evident in a L2 than in a L1. In addition,
“L2 use carries a number of intergroup issues,
with social and political implications, that are
usually irrelevant to L1 use” (MacIntyre,
Clément, Dörnyei, & Noels, 1998, p. 546).
MacIntyre, Clément, Dörnyei, and Noels
(1998) conceptualized WTC in a L2 in a theoreti-
cal model. In this model, learner personality, in-
tergroup climate, intergroup attitudes, inter-
group motivation, L2 self-confidence, and
communicative competence, among other fac-
tors, are interrelated in influencing WTC in a L2
and L2 use. This model, represented as a layered
pyramid, illustrates the complexity of the concept
of WTC in a L2 (Figure 3). The first three layers
(I, II, III) are seen to have situation-specific influ-
ences, whereas the latter three (IV, V, VI) are
believed to have stable influences on WTC.
The Socioeducational Model
The socioeducational model of L2 acquisition
(Gardner, 1985) proposes that two basic atti-
tudes—integrativeness and attitude towards the
learning situation—contribute to the learner’s
level of L2 learning motivation (a portion of the
model appears in Figure 2). The level of motiva-
tion, in turn, influences the linguistic outcome
(e.g., achievement or proficiency ). A number of
empirical studies support this model (Gardner,
1980, 1985, 1988; Gardner & MacIntyre, 1993).
Integrativeness (which consists of three compo-
nents) refers to the desire to learn a L2 in order
to meet and communicate with members of the
L2 community. It is expected that students with a
higher level of integrativeness and stronger L2
learning motivation will more readily interact
with a L2 language group than those with a lower
level of integrativeness and motivation. Figure 2
shows that, in a monolingual context in Canada,
motivation influenced WTC in a L2, which, in
turn, resulted in increased frequency of L2 com-
The applicability of the socioeducational
model in the foreign language context has been
questioned by some researchers. Research has
shown that instrumental motivation is equally or
more important in various foreign language
learning contexts (Clément, Dörnyei, & Noels,
1994; Dörnyei, 1990; Samimy & Tabuse, 1992).
As Dörnyei (1990) pointed out, in foreign lan-
guage learning situations, “affective predisposi-
tions toward the target language community are
unlikely to explain a great proportion of the vari-
ance in language attainment” (p. 49). Clément
and Kruidenier (1983) emphasized the need to
define the integrative orientation operationally
and other orientations that are relevant to a par-
ticular context.
MacIntyre and Charos’ (1996) Model of L2 Willingness to Communicate Applied to Monolingual University
56 The Modern Language Journal 86 (2002)
Following the procedures used by Ely (1986),
Clément, Dörnyei, and Noels (1994), and Bel-
mechri and Hummel (1997), Yashima (2000) in-
vestigated the orientations (reasons) for learning
EFL among Japanese college students and iden-
tified an orientation similar to the integrative ori-
entation, but somewhat different in the sense
that it reflected the role of English as a lingua
franca, with the target community not clearly
specified. This orientation labeled “intercultural
friendship orientation,” along with “instrumental
orientation,” predicted the strength of motiva-
tion and motivation in turn predicted profi-
ciency. These two orientations were moderately
correlated (r.59).
Attitude toward the International
Community—International Posture
In a context where there is little daily contact
with native speakers of English, learners are not
likely to have a clear affective reaction to the
specific L2 language group, as Dörnyei (1990)
pointed out; however, attitudes toward American
and other English-speaking cultures are surely
created through education and exposure to me-
dia. As Yashima (2000) indicated, English seems
to represent something vaguer and larger than
the American community in the minds of young
Japanese learners. For many learners, English
symbolizes the world around Japan, something
that connects them to foreign countries and for-
eigners or “strangers” in Gudykunst’s (1991)
sense, with whom they can communicate by us-
ing English. However, there are individual dif-
ferences: Some learners are more interested in
or have more favorable attitudes toward what
English symbolizes than other learners. Let us
call this inclination “international posture.”
Included in the concept are interest in foreign
or international affairs, willingness to go over-
seas to stay or work, readiness to interact with
intercultural partners, and, one hopes, openness
or a non-ethnocentric attitude toward different
cultures, among others. Although this psycho-
logical tendency is not as concrete as the attitude
toward the L2 community in Canada, it is be-
lieved to affect the learner’s L2 learning and
communication behavior. Here both friendship
and vocational interest, or aspects of both inte-
grative and instrumental orientations, are ad-
Heuristic Model of Variables Influencing WTC (MacIntyre, Clemént, Dörnyei, Kimberly, & Noels, 1998)
Tomoko Yashima 57
Intergroup Attitudes and Motivation
In MacIntyre, Clément, Dörnyei, and Noelss
(1998) conceptualization of WTC in a L2, inter-
group attitudes and intergroup motivation were
among the variables that sustain WTC in a L2.
Second language orientations of the types de-
scribed by Clément, Dörnyei, and Noels (1994)
and Clément and Kruidenier (1983) are men-
tioned as examples of intergroup motivation,
whereas integrativeness and fear of assimilation
appear as intergroup attitudes. In addition to
these concepts developed in L2 learning re-
search, concepts explored in intercultural com-
munication would be of use in defining the con-
cept framed as international posture. In the field
of communication, researchers have tried to
identify individual characteristics that facilitate
the communication process between people
from different cultural backgrounds. Of great
relevance to the current research is motivational
and attitudinal predisposition toward intercultu-
ral communication found in Gudykunst (1991)
and Kim (1991).
Gudykunst (1991) introduced a number of
concepts and self-assessment questionnaires that
allow people to evaluate how they approach
communication with people from different
groups whom he calls strangers (Gudykunst &
Kim, 1984). Among them, the tendency toward
approach-avoidance and ethnocentrism were ex-
amined as components that might define inter-
national posture and could influence communi-
cation in a L2.
Approach-avoidance is an individuals ten-
dency either to approach or to avoid interaction
with people from different cultures. In
Gudykunsts conceptualization of intercultural
communication competence, the means of com-
munication is not specified but seems to be im-
plicitly hypothesized as ones L1. If or when a L2
is used for intercultural communication, how-
ever, as is often the case in interactions that Japa-
nese have with foreigners, the approach-avoid-
ance tendency is likely to be related to L2
communication tendency.
Ethnocentrism is a tendency to interpret and
evaluate othersbehavior using our own stan-
dardsor a bias toward the ingroup that causes
us to evaluate different patterns of behavior nega-
tively, rather than try to understand them
(Gudykunst, 1991, pp. 6667). Gudykunst also
mentions that one consequence of ethnocen-
trism is a tendency to avoid or limit the amount
of interaction with outgroups. It was, therefore,
expected to influence L2 communication.
The current study examined the relationships
among L2 learning and L2 communication vari-
ables using the WTC model and the socioeduca-
tional model (the relationships among attitudes,
motivation, and achievement) as a framework.
Some insights from intercultural communication
research affected the conceptualization of vari-
ables and the construction of measures.
More specifically, the L2 communication
model used to investigate the relations among
the variables shown in Figure 4 was constructed
and tested in the study. The general attitude,
international posture, presumably affects the
level of motivation, which, in turn, affects L2 pro-
ficiency, as suggested in the socioeducational
model. Proficiency in a L2 presumably affects L2
communication confidence, whereas the level of
motivation influences willingness to communi-
cate, as shown in studies in Canada (MacIntyre &
Clément, 1996). Confidence in L2 communica-
tion presumably influences WTC in a L2. In addi-
tion, international posture or attitude toward the
international community directly affects WTC in
a L2.
In Cléments model (Clément & Kruidenier,
1985), the direction of the path was from self-
confidence to achievement. The model under
consideration in this study regards a higher pro-
ficiency as affecting confidence in communica-
tion. The path in this direction was significant in
research by Gardener, Tremblay, and Masgoret
The participants were 389 Japanese students
majoring in information science at a coeduca-
tional university in Osaka. They were freshmen
who had selected English among seven choices as
their primar y foreign language to study. As a
demographic study revealed, 12 had spent over 3
months in English-speaking countries and were,
therefore, eliminated from the sample. This left
377 (269 or 71.4% males, 107 or 28.4% females,
and 1 unknown). The students had studied En-
glish as a school subject for 6 years at junior and
senior high schools. Approximately 32% an-
swered that they had taken English lessons of
58 The Modern Language Journal 86 (2002)
some kind before learning English as a school
subject. For structural equation modeling, data
from 297 students (212 males and 85 females,
representing those students with no missing val-
ues) was used.
Questionnaires containing measures of the
aforementioned attitudes, motivation, and com-
munication tendencies in the Japanese language
were administered to the participants in April,
1999. The students had taken a standardized En-
glish test (The Test of English as a Foreign Lan-
guage, Institutional Testing Program [TOEFL,
ITP]) approximately 3 weeks prior to the admini-
stration of the questionnaire.
To capture the rather vague concept described
as international posture or attitude toward the
international community, several measures were
either taken or developed from previous studies.
Items for defining intercultural friendship ori-
entation were taken from Yashimas factor analy-
sis of Japanese learnersorientations (2000).
(Cronbachsafor the 4-item construct was .85.)
Items for interest in international affairs were
taken from a study by Kitagawa and Minoura
(1991) with slight modifications (Cronbachsaof
this measure was .67).
The concepts of approach-avoidance tendency
and ethnocentrism were adopted from studies by
Gudykunst (1991) and Kim (1991) to develop
measures of intercultural communication compe-
tence in Japanese based on work by Gudykunst
(1991) and Gouran and Nishida (1996). Because
the items in these studies were described in ab-
stract terms, they were modified to describe more
concrete situations, attitudes, and behaviors in or-
der to make it easier for the students to respond.
The measure of interest in international vocation
and activities was developed on the basis of work by
Tanaka, Kohyama, and Fujiwara (1991) and
Yashima (1999, 2000). For purposes of assessing
the test-retest reliability of these newly developed
materials, 116 students from the same university,
who were not among the participants in the cur-
rent study, responded to the questions twice
within an interval of approximately 5 weeks. Test-
retest reliability for approach-avoidance tendency
was .80, for ethnocentrism .66, and interest in in-
ternational vocation and activities .84. Cronbachs
afor these measures with the current population
were .79, .45, and .73, respectively. Based on these
figures, we judged that the items for ethnocen-
trism were subject to scrutiny and modification,
and therefore the construct was dropped from the
structural equation modeling in this study.
These procedures created four indicator vari-
ables to define the latent variable: (a) intercultu-
ral friendship orientation, (b) interest in foreign
affairs, (c) intercultural approach-avoidance ten-
dency, and (d) interest in international occupa-
tion or activities.
Communication confidence in a L2 was de-
fined as a lack of L2 communication anxiety and
perceived communicative competence in a L2.
This corresponded to Cléments model (Clément
L2 Communication Model to be Tested
Tomoko Yashima 59
& Kruidenier, 1985), in which anxiety and per-
ceived competence formed a higher order con-
struct, self-confidence. In the WTC model, L2
communication anxiety and perceived compe-
tence presumably influence WTC independently.
Instruments for WTC in a L2, L2 communication
anxiety, and perceived communicative compe-
tence in a L2 were originally developed by
McCroskey and Richmond (1990) with reference
to the L1, and adapted to refer to L2 situations by
MacIntyre and Charos (1996). The scales were
translated into Japanese. Back-translation was
used to ascertain the accuracy of translation.
For motivation, items from Gardner and Lam-
bert (1972) concerning motivation intensity and
desire to learn English served as the measures.
Proficiency reflected scores in subdivisions of a
standardized English proficiency test (TOEFL):
listening, grammar/vocabulary, and reading.
A brief description of the measures follows.
Intercultural Friendship Orientation. On the basis
of Yashimas investigation of Japanese learners
orientations (2000), four items in intercultural
friendship orientation that were similar to inte-
grativeness were used (Cronbachsa.85). Stu-
dents rated the degree of importance of each
item with regard to their reasons for taking En-
glish on a 7-point scale.
Motivational Intensity. As a measure of motiva-
tion, six items on Motivational Intensity (Cron-
bachsa.88) were taken from a research by
Gardner and Lambert (1972). Here again 7-point
scales were used, which differed from the original
format of three multiple-choice answers; students
were to rate the degree to which each statement
matched their state of mind.
Desire to Learn English. The other measure of
motivation consisted of six items defined under
the rubric Desire to Learn English (Cronbachs
a.78) from Gardner and Lambert (1972).
The original format was changed to a 7-point
Approach-Avoidance Tendency. Seven items served
to assess the tendency to approach or avoid non-
Japanese within Japan (Cronbachsa.79). Ex-
amples are: I want to participate in a volunteer
activity to help foreigners living in the neighbor-
ing community;I would share an apartment with
international students.Students were again to
evaluate their own behavioral inclinations on a
7-point scale for each of the seven items.
Interest in International Vocation/Activities. Six
items (Cronbachsa.73) indexed how much
an individual was interested in an international
career and living overseas (e.g., Im interested in
volunteer activities in developing countries such
as participating in Youth International Develop-
ment Assistanceor Id rather avoid the kind of
work that sends me overseas frequently). Re-
spondents recorded ratings on 7-point scales.
Interest in Foreign Affairs. Two items (Cronbachs
a.67) reflected studentsinterest in interna-
tional issues. They are: I often read and watch
news about foreign countriesand I often talk
about situations and events in foreign countries
with my family and/or friends.Ratings were re-
corded on 7-point scales.
Willingness to Communicate in English. This study
used the WTC scale published in McCroskey
(1992). The scale has 20 items (related to four
communication contexts, i.e., public speaking,
talking in meetings, talking in small groups, and
talking in dyads; and three types of receivers:
strangers, acquaintances, and friends), and eight
filler (dummy) items (e.g., Present a talk to a
group of strangers,”“Talk with an acquaintance
while standing in line,”“Talk in a large meeting
of friends). The students were to indicate the
percentage of time they would choose to commu-
nicate in each type of situation when completely
free to do so using a figure between 0 and 100.
Communication Anxiety in English. The twelve
items for communication apprehension or anxi-
ety used by MacIntyre and Clément (1996) served
as the measure of communication anxiety in En-
glish. The students indicated the percentage of
time they would feel nervous in each situ-
ation/receiver with a number between 0 (I would
never feel nervous) and 100 (I would always feel nerv-
ous). The items applied to the same four commu-
nication contexts (public speaking, talking in
meetings, talking in small groups, and talking in
dyads) and the three types of receivers (strangers,
acquaintances, and friends) in the WTC scale
Perceived Communication Competence in English.
Twelve items, also from MacIntyre and Charos
(1996), constituted the measure of self-judgment
of communication competence. Students indi-
cated their self-assessed competency in each situ-
ation and with each receiver using a number be-
tween 0 (completely incompetent) and 100
(completely competent). The contexts and receivers
are the same as the ones for the WTC and Com-
munication Anxiety Scale (Cronbachsa.92).
A translation of most of the items grouped by
60 The Modern Language Journal 86 (2002)
scale is shown in Appendix B. (Refer to
McCroskey [1992] for communication-related
The L2 communication model to show rela-
tionships among communication and L2 learn-
ing variables appears in Figure 5. In the model,
international posture, motivation, L2 proficiency,
and L2 communication confidence are latent
variables, with indicator variables defining them.
The concept WTC in a L2 is an indicator variable.
To specify each indicator variable, values of all
the items were aggregated. Values of negative
items were reversed before the aggregation.
This model was tested using AMOS version 4.0
(Arbuckle, 1995) as applied on the variance/co-
variance matrix of the relevant data. The correla-
tions matrix appears in Appendix A. Solid lines in
the model indicate originally hypothesized paths.
The broken line represents a data driven path. All
the paths, except for the one from L2 proficiency
to L2 communication confidence, were signifi-
cant. The model shows a good fit to the data; the
chi-square goodness of fit index was 62.63 at 49
degrees of freedom, which was not significant. In
this case, a non-significant finding is indicative of
goodness of fit. In fact, other goodness of fit
measures provided by the AMOS program indi-
cate a very good fit: GFI (Goodness of Fit Index)
0.97, AGFI (Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index )
0.95, RMSEA (Root Mean Square Error of Ap-
proximation) 0.031.1
Note.**p.01; v2(49) 62.63, n.s.; GFI 0.97; AGFI 0.95; CFI 0.99; RMSEA 0.031; WTC L2:
Willingness to Communicate in L2; CA: Communication Anxiety in L2; PC: Perceived Communication
Competence in L2; LISN: Listening Comprehension; GRAM: Grammar & Vocabulary; READ: Reading Com-
prehension; IFO: Intercultural Friendship Orientation in Learning English; IVA: Interest in International
Vocation/Activities; IFA: Interest in Foreign Affairs; AAT: Intergroup Approach Avoidance Tendency; MI:
Motivational Intensity; DLE: Desire to Learn English.
L2 Communication Model in the Japanese EFL Context with Standardized Estimates
Tomoko Yashima 61
The socioeducational model was replicated in
that attitudes influenced motivation, which, in
turn, influenced achievement, although attitudes
here were not exactly those toward the L2 com-
munity. The attitudes, indicated as the latent vari-
able (international posture) captured the gen-
eral individual attitudes toward intercultural
communication, international vocation or activi-
ties and foreign affairs. It is noteworthy that the
attitudes, as defined by several variables, includ-
ing those developed for this study based on pre-
vious research, were fairly strongly related to mo-
tivation as defined by Gardner and Lambert
(1972). Level of motivation predicted L2 profi-
ciency as defined by subsectional scores of the
standardized test. Proficiency in the L2 referred
to ones competence or knowledge accumulated
through years of study or use of the language.
During years of study, it seems that motivated
students studied harder and achieved a higher
level of competence than less motivated ones.
The WTC model was replicated in the data by
showing that a lower level of anxiety and percep-
tion of L2 communication competence led to a
higher level of WTC, although in this model, a
combination of relative lack of anxiety and per-
ceived competence was indicated as the latent
variable (self-confidence in L2 communication).
We had expected that higher proficiency would
lead to greater confidence, but this path was not
significant, which was contrary to findings by
Gardner et al. (1997). This finding may be attrib-
utable to the discrepancy between the stan-
dardized proficiency measures, mainly academic
in nature, and L2 self-confidence, which captures
psychological reactions in face-to-face interac-
tions. The path coefficient from proficiency to L2
communication confidence might have been
higher than the figure in the current study if
communication tendency through listening,
reading, and writing had been measured as well
as speaking.2In addition, factors outside lan-
guage competence that were not included in the
study (such as gender, personality, and communi-
cation tendency in the L1) might influence L2
communication confidence.
The data-driven path from motivation to confi-
dence in L2 communication was significant. This
result indicates that a motivated individual tends
to perceive that his or her competence is higher
and that he or she has a lower level of anxiety than
a less motivated person. In other words, studying
gives learners confidence in communication.
There was not, however, adirect path from motiva-
tion to willingness to communicate, as was ex-
pected from past research in Canada which often
showed a link between motivation and L2 commu-
nication (MacIntyre & Clément, 1996). Motivated
individuals tended to have confidence in commu-
nication. However, merely having motivation does
not seem to be sufficient for an individuals being
willing to communicate; he or she needs to have
confidence in his or her L2 communication. This
result might be specific to this context.
The path from international posture to WTC,
although not strong, was significant. As expected,
attitude toward intercultural communication or
international interest directly influenced WTC in
the L2. It is not surprising that the more interna-
tionally oriented an individual was, the more will-
ing he or she was to communicate in English.
Such individuals are also more motivated to study
English, and this motivation, in turn, contributes
to proficiency and confidence in L2 communica-
tion. As can be seen from the results, confidence
in communication had a strong and direct influ-
ence on WTC in the L2. This corresponds to the
conceptual model of MacIntyre et al. (1998; see
Figure 3), in which L2 self-confidence is regarded
as a more immediate element than communica-
tive competence in influencing WTC.
This study investigated the influence of L2 pro-
ficiency, attitudes or motivation, L2 communica-
tion confidence, and international posture on L2
communication. In doing so, the WTC model, as
well as the socioeducational model, was applied
in a context different from the one in which
related research had previously been conducted.
Since the ethnolinguistic vitality (Giles, Bourhis,
& Taylor, 1977; Giles & Byrne, 1982) of a lan-
guage itself is a variable that influences L2 learn-
ing affect and communication (Clément, 1980;
Clément & Kruidenier, 1987), a careful examina-
tion of what it means to learn a language in a
particular context is necessary before applying a
model developed in a different context. This pro-
cedure was followed in the current study in order
to develop a clearer understanding of the L2
communication tendency among Japanese learn-
ers of EFL. The results of structural equation
modeling not only supported the WTC and so-
cioeducational models, but as a whole demon-
strated the applicability of MacIntyre et al.s
(1998) conceptual model in an EFL context. The
good fit of the model to the data in the current
study indicated that L2 communication in this
context is well accounted for by the model.
International posture was hypothesized as a
general attitude toward the international com-
62 The Modern Language Journal 86 (2002)
munity that influences English learning and com-
munication among Japanese learners. When Eng-
lish is regarded as a knowledge-based school sub-
ject, the needs for achievement, mental training,
and satisfaction in learning motivate learners just
as they do in many other school subjects, as
Kubos (1999) study suggests. Even though this
tendency is admittedly valid, it is also necessary
that one consider attitudes to prospective com-
munication partners when communication be-
comes an important objective in learning Eng-
lish. The results of the present study show that
international posture influences motivation,
which, in turn, predicts proficiency and L2 com-
munication confidence. This being the first at-
tempt to operationalize international posture
among Japanese EFL learners, items used to de-
fine the concept need to be refined through fur-
ther examination and follow-up studies.
The students who participated in the study had
received at least 6 years of formal English educa-
tion at school. The model here represented a
cross-section at one stage of learning. Future re-
search should investigate the process of how indi-
vidual differences in international posture in-
itially come about and how they change over
time, e.g., influence of parents and peers, child-
hood intercultural experiences, English grades,
or the role of teachers in the beginning stage. It
is conceivable that attitudes toward the interna-
tional community are fostered through the pro-
cess of learning a foreign language, the materials
students encounter, or through life experience.
In addition, the relations between attitudes, mo-
tivation, and proficiency should be observed over
many years. A longitudinal as well as qualitative
study is needed to clarify these points.
The variables that directly influenced WTC in a
L2 were L2 communication confidence and inter-
national posture, which encompassed intergroup
approach tendency, intercultural friendship ori-
entation, interest in international vocations and
activities, and interest in foreign affairs. Interna-
tional posture also indirectly affected WTC in a
L2, through motivation to learn a L2, and commu-
nication confidence in a L2. International posture
and confidence in L2 use seem to be a key both to
understanding and to promoting L2 learning and
communication in the Japanese EFL context. This
suggests that in order to encourage students to be
more willing to communicate in English, EFL les-
sons should be designed to enhance studentsin-
terest in different cultures and international af-
fairs and activities, as well as to reduce anxiety and
build confidence in communication.
Regarding how much the intention to commu-
nicate affects actual communicative behavior,
MacIntyre et al. (1998) cite several studies show-
ing a strong link between them. In the current
study, frequency of communication did not enter
into the model, because the measure, although
constructed, was deemed not adequately reliable
within the population studied; the students may
not have had opportunities to talk in the L2 even if
they were willing. The next step, therefore, should
be to investigate whether WTC can predict actual
L2 communicative behavior in intercultural con-
tact situations (e.g., study abroad experiences or
intensive English programs) in which learners
have the freedom to decide to communicate or
not. Naturally a number of situation-specific fac-
tors operate when one is engaged in actual com-
munication with others. Favorable contact and
communication experiences presumably reduce
anxiety and enhance interest in the world, which,
in turn, influence attitudes and motivation.
Therefore, a circular, self-sustaining model with
dynamic interaction among variables, including
attitudes, motivation, confidence, anxiety, WTC,
communicative competence, and communicative
behavior is conceivable. Testing this dynamic
model is a possible course of future study.
The conceptual model of WTC (MacIntyre et
al., 1998) was a starting pointto inspire future
research toward the ultimate goal of language
learning: authentic communication between per-
sons of different language and cultural back-
grounds(p. 559). The current study lends em-
pirical support to the conceptual model and has
demonstrated the potential for using an interdis-
ciplinary approach to account for L2 intercultu-
ral communication.
The author would like to express her gratitude to
Professor Kazuaki Shimizu of Kansai University for his
advice on structural equation modeling procedures and
to anonymous reviewers for their very helpful sugges-
tions on an earlier version of the article.
1According to Tanaka (1987) and Toyoda (1992), a
GFI of 0.9 or larger indicates that the model fits the data
well. Browne-Cudeck (1993) states that a RMSEA of 0.05
or less means the models fitness to the data is consid-
ered good, whereas a value of 0.1 or larger means the
datas fit to the model is poor.
2When the latent variable, proficiency, was replaced
with a single indicator variable, listening, the path be-
Tomoko Yashima 63
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Correlation Matrix (Indicator Variables)
Variable 123456789101112
1. Willingness to Communicate in L2 1.0
2. Communication Anxiety in L2 .39** 1.0
3. Perceived Communication
Competence in L2 .56** .32** 1.0
4. L2 Proficiency: Listening .16** .19** .16** 1.0
5. L2 Proficiency: Grammar/Vocabulary .13* .10 .17** .31** 1.0
6. L2 Proficiency: Reading .19** .13* .21** .28** .52** 1.0
7. Motivational Intensity .41** .31** .29** .18** .32** .24* 1.0
8. Desire to Learn L2 .41** .23** .27** .12* .28** .20** .77** 1.0
9. Intercultural Friendship Orientation .41** .19** .22** .13* .20** .07 .60** .61** 1.0
10. Interest in International Vocation/
Activities .37** .23** .20** .13* .16** .14* .57** .49** .65** 1.0
11. Interest in Foreign Affairs .24** .12* .13* .11 .11 .08 .24** .27** .31** .32** 1.0
12. Intergroup Approach-Avoidance
Tendency .40** .28** .22** .07 .16** .10 .54** .50** .65** .61** .24** 1.0
Note.*p.05; ** p.01.
Tomoko Yashima 65
An English Translation of the Questionnaire Items
Intercultural Friendship Orientation in English Learning
As a reason to study English:
1. It will allow me to meet and converse with more and varied people.
2. It will allow me to get to know various cultures and peoples.
3. I will be able to participate more freely in the activities of other cultural groups.
4. Id like to make friends with foreigners.
Motivational Intensity
1. Compared to my classmates, I think I study English relatively hard.
2. I often think about the words and ideas which I learn about in my English classes.
3. If English were not taught at school, I would study on my own.
4. I think I spend fairly long hours studying English.
5. I really tr y to learn English.
6. After I graduate from college, I will continue to study English and tr y to improve.
Desire to Learn English
1. When I have assignments to do in English, I tr y to do them immediately.
2. I would read English newspapers or magazines outside my English course work.
3. During English classes Im absorbed in what is taught and concentrate on my studies.
4. I would like the number of English classes at school increased.
5. I believe absolutely English should be taught at school.
6. I find studying English more interesting than other subjects.
Intergroup Approach-Avoidance Tendency
1. I want to make friends with international students studying in Japan.
2. I tr y to avoid talking with foreigners if I can.
3. I would talk to an international student if there is one at school.
4. I wouldnt mind sharing an apartment or room with an international student.
5. I want to participate in a volunteer activity to help foreigners living in the neighboring community.
6. I would feel somewhat uncomfortable if a foreigner moved in next door.
7. I would help a foreigner who is in trouble communicating in a restaurant or at a station.
Interest in International Vocation or Activities
1. I would rather stay in my hometown.
2. I want to live in a foreign countr y.
3. I want to work in an international organization such as the United Nations.
4. Im interested in volunteer activities in developing countries such as participating in Youth International
Development Assistance.
5. I dont think whats happening overseas has much to do with my daily life.
6. Id rather avoid the kind of work that sends me overseas frequently.
Interest in Foreign Affairs
1. I often read and watch news about foreign countries.
2. I often talk about situations and events in foreign countries with my family and/or friends.
Samples of MLJ Articles Now Available Online
Samples of MLJ articles are now available on the MLJ Web site. These examples will be changed
It is hoped that these samples will illustrate the diversity of article types published in the Journal. They
might also provide potential authors with examples of APA reference style. And, of course, they offer
fine reading.
66 The Modern Language Journal 86 (2002)
... Research evidence suggests that willingness to communicate is affected by both student-internal and student-external variables. Amongst the most frequently researched variables include foreign language enjoyment (Dewaele et al. 2017;Li, Jiang, and Dewaele 2018;MacIntyre and Gregersen 2012), foreign language anxiety (MacIntyre 1999;MacIntyre and Vincze 2017;Mesri 2012;Dewaele and MacIntyre 2014), and self-confidence (Lee 2019;Yashima 2002). However, to my knowledge, no class, etc. ...
... In a nutshell, research evidence suggests that anxiety is negatively correlated with students' learning outcomes and their willingness to communicate. As anxiety levels increase, willingness to communicate will decrease and vice-versa (Dewaele and MacIntyre 2014;MacIntyre and Charos 1996;Yashima 2002), leading some ...
... By and large, literature suggests that as anxiety level increases, student willingness to communicate will decrease and vice-versa (Dewaele and MacIntyre 2014;MacIntyre and Charos 1996;Yashima 2002) and this widely cited position lent support from the present study. Note that FLA scores were negatively correlated with WTC regardless of gender (see Table 6). ...
Full-text available
The present study sought to scrutinize the contribution of perceived sense of classroom community, enjoyment, anxiety and self-confidence to willingness to communicate. Involving 402 senior high school students (Female: 249, Male: 153), the study was conducted in a sociocultural context which is under-represented in the international literature. Questionnaires gauging classroom community, foreign language enjoyment, foreign language anxiety, self-confidence, and willingness to communicate were administered to all respondents. Multiple regression analysis was calculated to predict students’ willingness to communicate. A significant regression equation was found. Perceived sense of classroom community, foreign language enjoyment, foreign language anxiety, and self-confidence concurrently contributed 21% of the total variance in willingness to communicate. Consistent with the literature, foreign language anxiety turned out to be the strongest negative predictor of willingness to communicate, whereas sense of classroom community, self-confidence, and foreign language enjoyment were all significant positive predictors.
... A number of the studies explicitly focus on links between globalization and L2 learning motivation, while others have a different focus, but elements of globalization arise. Many studies focus on international posture (Yashima, 2002), and others more specifically look at ideas of ownership of the language and identity. The connecting perspective of all these studies is on the complex, non-linear and non-static nature of the factors affecting learner motivation. ...
... There has therefore been a series of studies which find a positive correlation between perceptions of globalization and L2 motivation, but little done in France. Yashima's (2002) construct of 'international posture' is used by Kormos & Csizér (2008) to analyse their two older age groups. This is defined as an 'inclination' and includes "interest in foreign or international affairs, willingness to go overseas to stay or work, readiness to interact with intercultural partners, and openness (…) and a non-ethnocentric attitude toward different cultures" (Yashima, 2002, p. 57). ...
... I would suggest that the native-speaker model, a search for almost unobtainable 'perfection', has left these learners with a sense of not being good enough, and that only two or three show signs of adopting English as part of their own identity. Listening to these participants talk about globalization and their use of English has indeed painted a complex landscape with no easy answers, but explicit discussion of international posture (Yashima, 2002) and of goal setting to use English for whatever purpose suits the individual might encourage learners to incorporate English into their own identity in a more meaningful way thus promoting motivation. ...
Full-text available
This paper investigates the motivations to study English— the so-called language of globalization— of a group of students in the French higher education (HE) system. It is a qualitative, reflexive research project that explores motivation using Dörnyei's (2005) L2MSS to uncover how these students feel about using English, how they imagine their future selves using the language, and their perceptions of their L2 learning experience. While the results suggest that there are vast differences between how the participants relate to using English, with some showing strong identification with the language and others showing little evidence of incorporating it into their identity, there is agreement on important aspects of the L2 learning experience. This paper argues that a more transparent and practical approach to learning English in a global context along with identity building in the L2 learning experience in France could help reduce learner anxiety and increase motivation among those students who feel frustrated by the current system. Key terms: second language acquisition, global English/es, globalization, second language (L2) motivation, investment, identity, imagined global community, English as a Lingua Franca
... For instance, Jin and Lee (2022) conducted a meta-analysis and determined that although the impact of motivation on WTC was less pronounced compared to foreign language proficiency, it still held a significant and positive association. Furthermore, Yashima (2002) identified a robust correlation between motivation and language proficiency, as well as motivation and WTC, among Japanese university students studying English. Therefore, it is imperative to explore the impact of motivation on WTC. ...
... However, there is a debate on whether motivation can directly impact WTC. Some studies have demonstrated a direct effect of motivation on WTC (Hashimoto, 2002;Zarrinabadi & Saberi Dehkordi, 2021), yet numerous studies have shown that the direct path from motivation to WTC is not significant (Ghonsooly et al., 2012;MacIntyre & Charos, 1996), and motivation may only affect WTC through intermediary variables such as self-confidence (Fallah, 2014;Peng & Woodrow, 2010;Yashima, 2002). In addition, existing research has focused on traditional classrooms and how the relationship between motivation and WTC in an online environment is not clear. ...
The importance of "willingness to communicate" (WTC) in foreign language learning has been widely discussed. However , the current research on WTC mainly focuses on traditional classrooms, and there is insufficient attention to WTC in L3 online learning. This study explored the psychological process among motivation, WTC, foreign language enjoyment (FLE), foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA), and perceived positive language interaction (PPLI). Based on data collected from 492 college students who were taking the online L3 course, results showed that: (1) L3 learners were somewhat willing to use L3 for communicating in online classes; (2) motivation was positively related to WTC; (3) FLE and FLCA mediated the relationship between motivation and WTC differently; (4) PPLI had moderating effects on both the relationship between FLE and WTC and between FLCA and WTC. Implications of online foreign language learning were discussed. K E Y W O R D S foreign language enjoyment, motivation, online language teaching and learning, third language (L3), willingness to communicate (WTC) Int J Appl Linguist. 2023;1-19.
... WTC is associated with a complex balance of psychological, cultural, and situational factors. Yashima elucidated the interplay of motivation, self-confidence in L2, WTC and international posture [5]. Understanding this dynamic is especially pertinent for medical students, as effective communication can have profound implications for patient care and medical practice. ...
... This decline could be indicative of the broader impact of the pandemic on extracurricular engagement and social interactions, or increased travel anxiety related to COVID-19 [27,28]. Regarding the finding of lower mean WTC section scores compared to motivation section scores, this result is consistent with observations about the general communication apprehension or reluctance to speak English long associated with Japanese university students [5,29,30], but the pandemic may have some effect (both positive and negative) on WTC over time as indicated by a number of emerging studies [31][32][33][34][35]. ...
Full-text available
For non-English-speaking nations such as Japan, proficiency in English has emerged as an indispensable skill, particularly in scientific fields like medicine. This research paper extends prior investigations into the motivations of Japanese medical students for learning English and delves into their willingness to communicate (WTC) in English. Importantly, it explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these motivations and communication behaviors. This study reveals that Japanese medical students are strongly instrumentally and vocationally motivated, viewing English as a practical asset for their future medical careers. They also exhibit a strong international posture, demonstrating an eagerness to engage with global cultures through English. Notably, the students’ motivation to study English remains resilient despite the pandemic’s challenges, such as the shift to remote learning and travel restrictions. However, their WTC in English exhibits nuanced changes. While overall WTC remains stable, students’ inclination to give presentations in English decreases significantly, possibly due to reduced face-to-face interactions in virtual learning environments. Additionally, their interest in participating in international events and activities wanes, possibly influenced by pandemic-related travel anxiety. These findings underscore the importance of offering specialized English classes and study abroad/international exchange experiences to sustain students’ motivation to learn English.
... Language mindsets and L2 willingness to communicate (WTC) have garnered much attention in the sphere of L2 acquisition (e.g. Lee 2020; Lou and Noels 2019;Mercer and Ryan 2009;Peng 2012;Teimouri, Plonsky, and Tabandeh 2020;Yashima 2002). These two essential variables are closely related to each other (Wang, Peng, and Patterson 2021;Zarrinabadi, Lou, and Shirzad 2021) and may both serve as immediate predictors of L2 learning outcomes and behaviours (Clément, Baker, and MacIntyre 2003;Khajavy, MacIntyre, and Hariri 2021;Lou and Zarrinabadi 2022;Peng 2015). ...
... To some extent, the finding corroborated the prior findings that L2 WTC was positively associated with L2 language and competence (e.g. Cao 2011;Khajavy et al. 2014;Peng 2012;Yashima 2002) or pragmatic production (e.g. Hosseinpur and Nevisi 2017;Yang and Lian 2023). ...
Language mindsets and L2 willingness to communicate (L2 WTC) are closely related and have contributed greatly to learners’ L2 learning achievements under the SLA paradigm. However, relatively less attention has been given to the influence of language mindsets and L2 WTC on L2 pragmatic acquisition. This paper aims to examine the potential influence of language mindsets and L2 WTC on receptive pragmatic competence, which further includes pragmatic comprehension, awareness, and perception. A total of 208 Chinese university students of English were administered a biographic survey, a receptive pragmatic task, along with language mindsets and L2 WTC questionnaires. The results showed that growth language mindsets predicted pragmatic awareness and that L2 WTC predicted sociopragmatic inappropriateness perception. Language mindsets and L2 WTC did not play a predictive role in pragmatic comprehension. Gender served as the exclusive and significant moderator in the interaction between pragmatic comprehension and L2 WTC. Pedagogical implications for pragmatic instructors and practitioners and suggestions for future research are also provided.
... On the other hand, anxiety plays a significant role in students' oral performance and achievement in EFL classes [13]. Therefore, focus should be given to study the effects of students' anxiety on their language performance. ...
Anxiety plays a significant role in students' oral performance and achievement in EFL speaking classes. This study applied a mixed-method approach using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews in order to investigate tertiary level students' English language anxiety at Najran University. It also examines its main causes. In addition, it explores the effects of anxiety on students' performance in EFL classrooms and the role of gender differences on the level anxiety. The study reveals that the main factors that contribute to EFL speaking anxiety among Saudi EFL students are fear of negative evaluation, fear of interaction, fear of perception of others and lack of confidence, respectively. The study also found that female students were more anxious compared to male students in EFL speaking classrooms. In addition, it showed a negative connection between FLA and students' performance in speaking classes in that high-level anxiety students experience poor speaking performance. The study implicates the role of speaking teachers in reducing the anxiety among students.
... This construct shows that situational factors such as interlocutors exert more influence on L2 communication than trait-like factors such as personality. This accords with many empirical studies such as Yashima (2002) and Clément et al. (2003). This model was widely used as the basic conceptualisation for later related studies such as Pattapong (2015) and Peng and Woodrow (2010), confirming the vital contribution of situational factors. ...
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Background: Although previous studies have reported WTC variables in the EFL context, limited studies have investigated learners’ perceptions of WTC outside the classroom. In addition, insights into learners’ perceptions from qualitative data have rarely been presented in this study area. Purpose: This study investigated the perceptions of willingness to communicate (WTC) of Thai English as a Foreign Language (EFL) first-year university students. It focused on their perceptions of situational factors of WTC inside and outside the classroom. Also, it investigated the reasons behind the perceptions. Methods: As a mixed-method study, a questionnaire adapted from Baghaei’s (2013) and Peng and Woodrow’s (2010) was used to collect quantitative data, while reflective reports and semi-structured interviews were used to reveal explanations for the quantitative data. Results: The present study found that the students were more willing to speak outside the classroom than inside the classroom. Interlocutors were significant factors affecting WTC both inside and outside the classroom. Also, speaking topics that are suitable for students' perceived level of proficiency but still pose a challenge for their language development have the potential to increase WTC in the classroom. At the same time, a stimulating environment was powerful for WTC outside the classroom due to a lack of an English-speaking environment in the EFL context. The qualitative data revealed that foreign language anxiety concerning the interlocutor’s competence, familiarity with the interlocutor, and language classroom experiences, as well as social support from friends, were the rationale behind the impact of the situational factors. Conclusion: Teachers can apply the results of this present study to enhance WTC in the classroom and increase students’ opportunities to speak inside and outside the classroom through pedagogical support.
Recently, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and problem-based learning (PBL) have been popular in higher education. However, there is little research about the effects of PBL with collaborative learning in the flipped classroom on affective processes in English class to influence students’ learning. This study investigates problem-based English learning using flipped MOOCs, combined with ZOOM meetings for group-based discussion in the classroom to examine the relationships among social problem-solving orientations, self-efficacy, motivation, and the willingness to communicate (WTC) of Japanese EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners. To conduct this investigation, online questionnaires were administered to university EFL students in Japan and in Malaysia. We found that collaborative learning in this PBL setting had a positive effect on self-efficacy, WTC, motivation, and positive problem-solving orientation. We also found that collaborative learning was the strongest predictor of self-efficacy.
The purpose of the present study was to use an orientation-appraisal model to examine the relations among 4 latent variables - learning motive, cognitive appraisal, learning behavior, and performance - in the English learning of Japanese university students. The orientation-appraisal model developed in the present study hypothesizes that learning motive and cognitive appraisal would mutually influence and affect learning behavior, and that learning behavior would influence the performance. The validity of the model was examined using data from 193 humanities students and 136 science-technology students. Factor analysis revealed that learning strategies included in learning behavior were classified into two factors : general strategy and comprehensive strategy. In a covariance structure analysis, both the humanities students and the science-technology students showed the same tendency in terms of the relations among the 4 latent variables. Based on the results of the covariance structure analysis, interventions relating to learning motive and cognitive appraisal were discussed.
Much research in second language acquisition (SLA) centres on the relationships among individual difference measures such as language attitudes, motivation, anxiety, self‐confidence, language aptitude, learning strategies, field independence, and measures of achievement in the language. Numerous studies have supported the proposed influences of these individual difference variables on achievement, and a number of models have been developed to explain the relationships among subsets of these variables. However, there is a lack of research examining the relationships among all these variables simultaneously. In the present study, we investigate a large number of individual difference measures to determine their underlying dimensions, to contrast their predictive validities, and to evaluate their contributions in a causal model of SLA. Our study was based on a sample of 102 university students enrolled in introductory French. The results indicated substantial links among the affective measures and achievement. Support was found for these connections in the proposed causal model.
The nature and assumptions underlying the Willingness to Communicate (WTC) scale are outlined and discussed. Data are discussed which relate to the reliability and validity of the instrument. It is concluded that the scale is of sufficient quality to be recommended for research and screening purposes.