Language Anxiety: “Negative Emotional Reaction When Learning a Second Language”

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Language anxiety: “Negative emotional reaction when learning a second language”

Learning and teaching a language can be considered by many as a very challenging and demanding task due to what the process itself implies. Could you imagine how each language learner feels when he/ she is asked to perform an activity or just to speak in front of the class? Some of them will feel very comfortable but what about those whose hearts often pound really hard, break out in a cold sweat and find it difficult to catch their breath. The disorders introduced previously corresponds to what a considerable quantity of foreign language learners face whenever they are asked to do something in the classroom known as: Anxiety, a term linked to an unpleasant feeling but which can also be helpful when learning a language. To begin with, anxiety in the language learning is considered as one of the most important affective factors, which has been studied since the 1970s. It is important to know what anxiety is, in general terms anxiety is a psychological construct that is described as a state of apprehension, a vague fear that is only indirectly associated with an object (Hilgard, Atkinson, & Atkinson, 1971). It can also be defined as a subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with an arousal of the automatic nervous system (McIntyre & Gardner, 1994) or in simple words it is described as a feeling of nervousness or worry. But making a relationship between language and anxiety it is found that according to what McIntyre (1999) stated, language anxiety is the worry and negative emotional reaction aroused when learning a second language. Secondly, anxiety has been found to be a negative feeling but helpful in some ways when learning a language. According to Hortwitz (1986) facilitating or helpful anxiety motivates learners to fight the new learning task, making them to expend extra efforts to overcome their feelings of anxiety....
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