English Speaking Anxiety

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This study investigates the sources of provoking English speaking anxiety among Libyan university students. The data was collected through a close-ended questionnaire completed by 300 students randomly selected from English departments in three colleges. The findings reveal that ‘fear of making mistakes’ , ‘lack of practice’, ‘fear of negative evaluation’ and ‘lack of/limited vocabulary’ represent the main provokers of nervousness and uneasiness among the participants when they speak English in classrooms. Some anxiety alleviating strategies have been discussed and recommended.

1.Introduction
Developing good speaking skills represents a major challenge for language learners. Although it is always claimed that foreign language (FL) learning
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Cultural, emotional, psychological and social factors have their influence on this phenomenon. Shabani (2012:2378) attributed this difficulty to the wide scope of the concept which ranges “from an amalgam of overt behavioral characteristics that can be studied scientifically to introspecting feelings that are inaccessible”. It can be also attributed to its different components as explained by Horwitz (1986: 128) “self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings and behaviors related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness of the language learning process”. Language anxiety has been defined in Oxford dictionary as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”… and as “abnormal fear of speaking in public or trying to speak”. According to Horwitz, et al (1986:125), it is “the subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with an arousal of the autonomic nervous system”. Gardner and Maclntyre (11993:5) defined it as “ the apprehension experienced when a situation requires the use of a second language with which the individual is not fully proficient”. Awan et al (2010: 33-34) pointed out the three different types of anxiety: trait anxiety, state anxiety and situational anxiety. The first is a personality trait, the second refers to the anxiety felt at a certain…show more content…
Research reveals different sources that cause language anxiety. Horwitz et al. (1986) referred to three primary language performance anxieties: ‘communication apprehension’, ‘social evaluation’, and ‘test anxiety’. Six sources have been identified by Young (1991) including anxieties of personal and interpersonal, teacher-student interaction, teachers’ beliefs about language learning, students’ beliefs about language learning, procedures of classroom and testing. Lui (2006:23-25) investigated the causes of anxiety among 98 Chinese EFL learners during their English oral classes. He reported these causes: lack of practice, lack of/limited vocabulary, low proficiency level, personality, fear of making mistakes , lack of preparation, incomprehensible input, inadequate knowledge of grammar, fear of being laughed at, lack of confidence, difficulty of the task, poor/bad pronunciation, lack of familiarity with partners /classmates, lack of familiarity with the topic, fear of being negatively evaluated, fear of being the focus of attention, fear of speaking Arabic English, inability to find proper words to express ideas, inability to express oneself, eagerness/desire to speak fluently, poor memory, lack of familiarity with the type of activity, family communication pattern, lack of familiarity with the environment, and English is not the students’ mother tongue. This seems to be a comprehensive list and therefore it was

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