Investigating Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety among the Kurdish EFL Students: A Case Study at a Public University
In the English as a Foreign Language EFL contexts from different settings, the issue of language learning anxiety has been extensively studies and investigated. However, in the Kurdish settings a few studies carried out about this issue, specially about speaking anxiety in English classes. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to investigate the level, major factor of foreign language speaking anxiety among the Kurdish EFL students and the students’ perspectives about foreign language speaking anxiety in the context of a university in Kurdistan. For achieving the study purpose, first year students (N=91) from English Department at a state university participated. The data regarding the level of EFL speaking anxiety gathered through administering a questionnaire (Foreign Language Anxiety Classroom Scale FLCAS) by (Horwitz et al. 1986), as well as through a semi-structured interview with the participants (N=18). The quantitative data were analyzed through descriptive statistics by using the SPSS software program (version 25), and the qualitative data were analyzed by content analysis. The results of the quantitative data illustrated that the students experienced a moderate level of EFL speaking anxiety, and the qualitative data confirmed the results whilst the participants perceived speaking as the most anxiety provoking factor. It was also found that fear of making mistakes, fear of negative evaluation, fear of speaking in front of others and immediate questions were as the major causes of the students’ speaking anxiety. This research contributes to the literature as it is the first to target FL speaking anxiety among Kurdish freshmen EFL learners.
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