Language and Speech Laboratory

Attitudes towards English in the Basque Autonomous Community

David Lasagabaster.

World Englishes      volume:23:211-224.

The learning of more than two languages in the school context is becoming very commonplace all over Europe, especially in the many places where a minority language is spoken. The situation of the Basque educational system is a very good case in point, as, apart from Basque and Spanish, English is also learnt at school. This study examines the attitudes of 1,097 university students towards the aforementioned three languages, using Baker´s (1992) questionnaire on attitudes as the main instrument of the survey. In a previous study carried out with a smaller sample (133 students) in which the majority were Basque Philology degree students, it was observed that the participants´ L1 had a clear impact on their attitudes. In fact, those students who had Basque as their L1 viewed the two international languages (Spanish and English) less favourably. In the case of the present sample, it was expected that students would not show such a negative attitude, as the range of degree courses being followed is much wider. Because the Basque language does not form the central core of the participants’ studies, their attitudes towards Spanish and English will be more positive and farther from what Baker calls a bunker attitude.