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Language Anxiety and Its Effects: in the Case of Chinese EFL Learners

Lui Hua  
【摘要】:The present study explores the effects of language anxiety on Chinese EFL students of upper-intermediate level, by using Horwtiz, Horwitz, and Cope theoretical concept of foreign language anxiety as a research framework. Though studies in the past three decades have repeatedly confirmed that foreign language anxiety has a negative effect on language learning process and is one of the best predictor in accounting for individual differences in language success, review of literature found that most studies have been done in northern American area with focus mainly on subjects of introductory level, with little done on language learners with higher proficiency level in other contexts. To develop a fuller understanding of the nature of language anxiety and expand its implication for language education, further exploration should include language learners of higher proficiency level under different social contexts. This study takes a step in that direction. The present study defines foreign language anxiety as affective reactions specific to formal language learning situation. The study assumes that Chinese EFL learners of upper-intermediate level experience language anxiety in their learning process and language anxiety is one of the predictors in accounting for learning success of Chinese EFL learners. The study consists of three parts. General statistical result in the first part confirms that Chinese EFL learners of upper-intermediate level still experience language anxiety. The second part factor analyzes students?ratings on the FLCAS questionnaire and extracts 9 major factors that affect language learning of Chinese EFL learners, and among which, ear of negative evaluation? and two communication apprehension indices (peech anxiety?and ncomfortableness in communicating with native speakers?) become the leading factors. The third part explores how the identified anxiety factors interact with each other and eventually affect language learning outcomes of Chinese EFL learners. Results indicated that, all the 9 identified factors are significantly related to over FCLAS, 6 factors are closely tied with 4 or above other factors. Among them, the leading 3 factors that play significant role in Chinese EFL learners?affective reactions to language learning are fear of negative evaluation, speech anxiety, and negative attitude toward language class. Vvrith regard to the relationships between anxiety factors and language proficiency measurement, correlational coefficients show that measurement of language anxiety is significantly correlated with language proficiency measurement. That is, the higher anxiety level is, the lower one's language outcomes is. The finding confirms the second hypothesis that language anxiety is one of the beast predictors in accounting for learning outcomes of Chines EFL learners. Among the identified factors, egative attitude toward language class?has the strongest relationship with language outcomes, which reflects the tough reality of language learning situation in China: long endurance of impractical cognitive tasks depresses students?motive to learn. The author suggests a change to be made in language planning so as to release students?burden of being forced to learn. Though 搕est anxietY?is identified as an independent factor that affect language learning of subjects in the present study, and demographic information shows that Chinese EFL learners are highly test-anxious, test anxiety?

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