This PhD project mainly aimed at exploring the relationship between foreign language (FL) anxiety and FL proficiency development, the sources of FL anxiety, and the stability of FL anxiety over time and across target languages. To this end, 146 L1 Chinese university students, who had been learning English for a long time but had just started learning Japanese, completed a battery of questionnaires twice (e.g. the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale [Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 1986]; the Trait Anxiety Scale [Spielberger, 1983]) over a 2-month interval. Results showed that FL proficiency levels, personality traits, as well as classroom environment factors were all potential FL anxiety sources. In addition, the changes of FL anxiety were negatively correlated with the development of overall FL proficiency and proficiency of subskills, such as speaking and writing. FL anxiety negatively predicted FL proficiency and exhibited a better predictive power than teacher support and student cohesiveness. The findings further support that FL anxiety interferes with FL learning. Furthermore, the participants’ anxiety levels in English did not significantly change over two months, whereas anxiety in Japanese showed a significant decrease, suggestive of the stabilization of anxiety in a FL to which learners have been learning for a longer period of time. At both time points, no significant differences were identified between anxiety in English and Japanese, indicating that FL anxiety can be independent of target languages.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Place of Publication||[Groningen]|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|