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Article Title

Insider Perspective: Attitude and Motivational Orientation among Heritage Learners of Japanese at Colleges in the Philadelphia-area

Abstract

This study investigates the attitudes and motivational orientations of heritage learners of Japanese. Twenty-seven students enrolled in Japanese classes in colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area participated in this study. Participants fell into two categories: heritage learners (N=6) and foreign language learners (N=21). Data was collected through an online questionnaire consisting of both quantitative and qualitative sections. Descriptive statistics were used to determine participants’ attitudes toward Japanese language, people, and culture and primary motivational orientations toward learning Japanese. The Fisher’s exact test was used to determine the effect of heritage status on attitude and motivational orientation. Results show both groups of learners generally have positive attitudes, though heritage learners tended to enjoy studying Japanese less than their counterparts without familial or cultural connection to the target language. Based on the findings and my personal experience, recommendations are made language instructors of Japanese to address the unique needs of heritage learners.

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