Macquarie University
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Speaking anxiety among Saudi ESL learners studying in Australia

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:19 authored by Abeer Al Yami
Studies in the field of second language acquisition have long been interested in the phenomenon of Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA) (e.g., Horwitz, Horwitz & Cope, 1986; MacIntyre & Gardner, 1994). These studies confirm that many L2 learners experience anxiety during the process of language learning. In terms of speaking anxiety, current research points to the need to better understand this phenomenon. Recent research focusing on Saudi foreign language learners points to the important role of cultural factors and speaking context in speaking anxiety (e.g., Al-Saraj 2014a; Javid, 2014). However, much of this research has been done in Saudi Arabia, and a gap exists in the current research literature pertaining to the relationship between speaking anxiety and language learning among Saudi ESL learners in mixed-gender classrooms. This study aimed to investigate the triggers of speaking anxiety for nine Saudi ESL learners studying in Australia. It also examined the manifestations of such anxiety, as well as coping strategies identified by the participants. Participants were observed in a classroom context participating in three types of speaking activities: pair work, group work, and oral presentation. This was followed by individual semi-structured interviews and stimulated recall sessions. Analysis of the data revealed five socio-contextual factors contributing to participants’ experiences of anxiety, including proximity to learners of the opposite gender, two psycho-linguistic factors including fear of incorrect L2 usage, and three overlap factors including linguistically demanding speaking tasks. The manifestations of speaking anxiety among the participants were both physical and psychological in nature and included avoiding eye contact, holding onto objects tensely, and forgetting words. The main coping strategies reported by the study cohort were learning additional vocabulary and undertaking thorough preparation prior to speaking. The findings from this study have implications for pedagogical practices related to teacher behaviour, classroom management practices, and the design of learning activities when instructing Saudi ESL learners.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodology -- Chapter 4. Results and discussion -- Chapter 5. Conclusion and implications -- Appendices.


"A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research". Bibliography: pages 98-99

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Roger


Copyright Abeer Al Yami, 2015. Copyright disclaimer:






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