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The effect of multilingualism, sociobiographical and situational factors on communicative anxiety and foreign language anxiety of mature language learners

By Jean-Marc Dewaele


The present study focuses on individual differences in levels of communicative anxiety (CA) and foreign language anxiety (FLA) in the first (L1), second (L2), third (L3) and fourth (L4) language of 106 adult language learners. Data were collected about CA/FLA levels when speaking with friends, with strangers, and speaking in public. The analyses revealed that multilinguals do experience more CA in stressful situations in their L1, but that levels of FLA are higher in languages learnt later in life. The knowledge of more languages was linked to lower levels of FLA in the L2. Female participants were only found to experience higher levels of CA in L1 public speech. Older participants tended to report higher levels of CA/FLA across languages. Rank orders for CA/FLA were significantly similar across the L1, L2, L3 and L4, which suggests that levels of CA/FLA are relatively stable and could be linked to a lower order personality trait such as emotional intelligence

Topics: alc
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2007
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