Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety: The Case of English as a Foreign Language Brazilian Learners




Stalnaker, Fabiana Felix

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceived sources of speaking anxiety and gain an in-depth perspective of the lived experiences of English-speaking anxiety among a group of EFL Brazilian adult learners enrolled in a private language school in São Paulo, Brazil. Another goal of this case study was to investigate how Brazilian EFL learners describe their experiences using the second language in a variety of scenarios. A case study following the explanatory sequential mixed methods design approach was employed because both the quantitative and qualitative data allowed the researcher to capture a more complete picture of the foreign language speaking anxiety experience in the Brazilian context. The majority of participants reported a common belief that speaking anxiety was caused by fear of criticism and judgment of others. The findings indicate that anxious learners experience an overconcern about making mistakes. Moreover, social-cultural, contextual, and personal factors influence the participants' anxiety when speaking the second language. Findings suggest that participants experienced more anxiety that comes from their interactions with peers and when speaking with strangers. Recommendations for future practice and research are included in order to better understand teachers' strategies, methodologies, and instructional approaches related to classroom practices to better characterize the presence or absence of speaking anxiety among teachers and language learners


The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.


adult language learners, Brazilian learners, EFL learners, foreign language speaking anxiety, sources of anxiety, speaking anxiety



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies