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Volume 19 Number 4, Winter 2022, Pages 1141-1336   

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Exploring the Relationships between Enjoyment, Self-efficacy, Engagement, and Vocabulary Learning in Japanese Learners of English

    Ren Oyama

Second language (L2) learners' positive emotions have recently attracted a growing amount of researchers' attention since positive psychology was introduced to second language acquisition (SLA) research. The present study focused on foreign language enjoyment (FLE), one of the positive emotions that are assumed to be correlated with SLA. It explored its relationship with self-efficacy, engagement, and L2 vocabulary learning in Japanese learners of English. The participants were 71 first-year university students. The data on the variables were collected over a 15-week semester. The main results of quantitative analyses indicated that FLE, engagement, and self-efficacy were significantly positively correlated, and FLE and engagement significantly predicted each other. It was also found that FLE was positively associated with achievement in the formal and semantic aspects of L2 vocabulary words. The results of qualitative analyses identified several learner variables and contextual variables causing the participants' FLE and anxiety. The present findings suggest reciprocity between FLE and engagement and positive relationships between FLE and the achievement of L2 vocabulary. The pedagogical implication is that teachers should try to increase their students' FLE and engagement in the classroom, ultimately leading to their L2 achievement and well-being.

Keywords: foreign language enjoyment, self-efficacy, engagement, L2 vocabulary learning, positive psychology