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Volume 7 Number 2, Summer 2010, Pages 1-359   

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The Stability of General Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety across Languages among Chinese Undergraduate Foreign Language Learners

    Guo Yan

The present study examined the stability of the general foreign language (hereinafter, FL) classroom anxiety construct across English, French, Japanese and Russian among Chinese undergraduate foreign language learners. Language majors learning simultaneously two foreign languages from three universities in central China participated in the study. They were categorized into three groups, one group learning English and French simultaneously, the other English and Japanese, and the third English and Russian. They reported the levels of general FL anxiety felt in each foreign language classroom by completing a questionnaire that included two Chinese versions of the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS, Horwitz, Horwitz & Cope, 1986), one for each language. Separate paired samples t tests were conducted within each group and one-way ANOVAs were performed between groups in order to measure the stability of the general FL anxiety construct across the four languages listed above. It was found that a statistically significant difference of overall anxiety levels existed across English and Japanese with the learning of Japanese provoking significantly lower levels of anxiety than English when both languages are simultaneously learned. The comparison between groups revealed that the group learning English and Japanese simultaneously perceived a significantly higher level of anxiety in English, the same first FL that all the three groups share, but a significantly lower level of anxiety in Japanese, the second FL, than the groups learning French and Russian as the second FL respectively. All the findings suggested that the levels of general FL anxiety may not be independent of the native language-foreign language pairing and may vary across languages according to the specific target language under learning.

Keywords: language anxiety, Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), stability across languages, Chinese undergraduate foreign language learners, native language-foreign language pairing

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