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