Cat's Got Your Tongue - Anxiety and Foreign Language Acquisition

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This study investigated the impact of Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA) on English language learning and performance. The project was fundamentally concerned with answering the following two research questions: How do English language students perceive anxiety to be affecting their learning and competency? and What are the factors/contexts that typically result in the manifestation of language related anxiety? In order to discern the impact of anxiety on English language learning and performance, this study viewed the problem through an interpretive lens, employed case study as a methodology and used semi structured interviews as the principal data collection instrument. In total, eight university students based in Mérida, Yucatán, México were individually interviewed about what triggered their anxiety and how they perceived it to be impacting their learning and performance in English. Results indicated that participants perceive anxiety to be a highly negative phenomenon with adverse consequences for English language learning and performance. In this thesis, performance is defined as how skillfully language is deployed while learning is defined as the development of the core abilities needed to function in a language. Data collected from the interview process revealed that the perceived anxiety is triggered by various teaching, learning and ideological variables and that it produces an aversive physiological state. The study’s findings suggest that researchers and practitioners within the field of language education ought to make a number of fundamental adjustments in order to maximize the language learning potential of the students they serve.
Anxiety, Language Learning, ESL
Desgrosseilliers, P. (2022). Cat's got your tongue - anxiety and foreign language acquisition (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from