The Relationship between Language Learning Anxiety and Language Learning Motivation among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 2, Issue 6-1, November 2014, Pages: 35-48
Received: Sep. 10, 2014; Accepted: Sep. 12, 2014; Published: Nov. 18, 2014
Views 5683      Downloads 485
Elaheh Tahernezhad, English Department, Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran
Fatemeh Behjat, English Department, Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran
Ali Asghar Kargar, English Department, Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran
Article Tools
Follow on us
The present study was an attempt to investigate the degree of anxiety among Iranian intermediate EFL learners and its relation to their motivation. To this end, a total number of 80 EFL learners (35 males and 45 females) were selected through cluster random sampling from two language classes at Islamic Azad University, Sardasht Branch, Hormozgan Province, Iran as the participants in this study. The instruments used to collect the data from the participants were the Foreign Language Learning Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) and Gardner’s (1985) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The results indicated that the majority of the participants experienced a mid to high level of language learning anxiety. Besides, it was found that the participants with lower levels of the language learning anxiety were more motivated to learn English while those with higher levels of the language learning anxiety were less motivated to learn English. However, there was no significant difference between the anxiety level of male and female participants. Similarly, there was no significant difference between the motivation level of male and female participants in this study. Finally, the findings indicated that there was no significant difference between the male and female participants concerning their language learning anxiety and motivation to learn English, indicating that gender did not play a determining role in these two variables.
Language Learning Anxiety, Language Learning Motivation, EFL Learners
To cite this article
Elaheh Tahernezhad, Fatemeh Behjat, Ali Asghar Kargar, The Relationship between Language Learning Anxiety and Language Learning Motivation among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Special Issue: Innovations in Foreign Language Teaching. Vol. 2, No. 6-1, 2014, pp. 35-48. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.s.2014020601.16
Arani, J. (2004). Issues of learning EMP at university: An analysis of students’ perspectives. Karan’s Linguistics Issues. Retrieved 30 July, 2014 from
Arnold, J., & Brown, H. D. (1999).A map of the terrain.In J. Arnold (Ed.), Affect in language learning. New York: Cambridge.
Awan, R.N., Anwar, M.N.,&Naz, A. (2010).An investigation of foreign language classroom anxiety and its relationship with students’ achievement.Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 7(11), 33-40.
AyashEzzi, N.A. (2012). The impact of gender on the foreign language anxiety of the Yemeni university students.International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 1(2), 65-75.
Belmechri, F., & Hummel, K. (1998). Orientations and motivation in the acquisition of English as a second language among high school students in Quebec city. Language Learning, 48(2), 219-224.
Brown, H. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (5th edition). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education Inc.
Brown, J. D., Robson, G., &Rosenkjar, P. R. (2001).Personality, motivation, anxiety, strategies, and language proficiency of Japanese students.In Z. Dornyei& R. W. Schmidt (Eds.), Motivation and second language acquisition (pp. 361-398). Honolulu: University of Hawaii, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.
Campbell, C. M., & Shaw, V. M. (1994). Language anxiety and gender differences in adult second language learners: Exploring the relationship. In C. A. Klee (Ed.), Faces in a crowd: The individual learner in multisection courses (pp. 47-80). Boston: Heinle&Heinle.
Chalak, A., &Kassaian, Z. (2010).Motivation and attitudes of Iranian undergraduate EFL students towards learning English.Online Journal of Language Studies, 10(2), 37-56.
Chastain, K. (1988). Developing second-language skills: Theory and practice. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
El-Banna, A. I. (1989). Language anxiety and language proficiency among EFL/ESL learners at university level: an exploratory investigation. Retrieved in September 2008 from ERIC Database (ED308698).
Gardner, R.C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: the role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.
Gardner, R. C. (1988). The socio-educational model of second language learning: Assumptions, findings, and issues. Language Learning, 38, 101-126.
Gardner, R. C. (2004). Attitude/Motivation Test Battery: International AMTB Research Project. Retrieved 15 January 2014 from
Gardner, R. (2006). The socio-educational model of second language acquisition: a research paradigm. EUROSLA Yearbook, 6, 237–260.
Gardner, R. C., Lalonde, R. N., Moorcroft, R., & Evers, F. T. (1987). “Second language attrition: The role of motivation and use”. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 6, 29-47.
Gardner, R. C., &MacIntyre, P. D. (1993).On the measurement of affective variables in second language learning.Language Learning, 43, 157-194.
Gardner, H., & Lambert, W.E. (1959).Motivational variables in second-language acquisition.Canadian Journal of Psychology, 13(4), 266-272.
Harmer, J. (2007).The practice of English language teaching. (4th ed.). Essex: Longman.
Hashimoto, Y. (2002). Motivation and willingness to communicate as predictors of L2. Use: The Japanese ESL context. Second Language Studies, 20(2), 29-70.
Horwitz, E. K. (1987). Surveying student belief about language learning.In Anita Wenden and Joan Rubin, (eds.). Learning strategies in language learning (119-129). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986).Foreign language classroom anxiety.Modern Language Journal, 70(2), 125-132.
Horwitz, E. K., & Young, D. J. (1991).Language Anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Huang, H.W. (2005). The relationship between learning motivation and speaking anxiety among EFL non-English major freshmen in Taiwan (Master’s thesis).Chaoyang University of Technology, Taiwan.
Karahan, F. (2007).Language attitudes of Turkish students towards the English language and its use in Turkish context.Journal of Arts and Sciences Say, 73-87.
Kitano, K. (2001). Anxiety in the college Japanese classroom.The Modern Language Journal, 85(4), 549-566.
Krashen, S. D. (1987). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. New York: Prentice-Hall International.
Lepper, M., Iyengar, S., & Corpus, J. (2005). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations in the classroom: Age differences and academic correlates. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 184-196.
Lifrieri, V. (2005). A sociological perspective on motivation to learn EFL: The case of escuelasplurilingües in Argentina. M.A thesis, University of Pittsburgh.
Liu, H. J. (2010a). Motivation to learn in the ability-grouped foreign language classroom. Taipei: Crane Publishing Co., Ltd.
Liu, H. J. (2012). Understanding EFL undergraduate anxiety in relation to motivation, autonomy, and language proficiency.Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 9(1), 123-139.
Macintyre, P. D. (1999) Language anxiety: A review of the research for language teachers. In D. J. Young (ed.). Affect in foreign language and second language learning: A practical guide to creating a low-anxiety classroom atmosphere. Boston: McGraw-Hill, pp. 24-45.
MacIntyre, P. D., &Gardner, R. (1991). Models and results in the study of anxiety and language learning: a review of the literature. Language Learning, 41(1): 85-117.
MacIntyre, P. D. & R. C. Gardner. (1994). The subtle effects of language anxiety on cognitive processing in the second language. Language Learning, 44, 283-305.
MahdaviZafarghandi A. &Jodai H. (2012). Attitudes toward English & English learning at an Iranian Military University: A Preliminary Survey. Available from:
Mahdinejad ,G., Hasanzadeh, R., Mirzaian,B., &Ebrahimi, S. (2012). Motivational orientations and students' English language learning: The case of Iranian EFL learners. European Motivation Journal of Social Science, 32(2), 239-250. Retrieved January 01, 2014 from
Mathews, T. J. (1996). A case for increasing negative affect in foreign language classes.Language Learning Journal, 13, 38-41.
McCroskey, J. C. (1984). Measures of communication bound anxiety. Speech Monographs, 37, 269-277.
Mesri, F. (2012).The relationship between gender and Iranian EFL learners’ foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA).International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2(6), 147-156.
Moiinvaziri, M. (2008). Motivational orientation in English language learning: A study of Iranian undergraduate students .Global practices of language teaching. Proceeding of International Online Language Conference (IOLC).Universal publishers. Boca Raton, Florida, US, 126-135.
Murlidharan, R., & Sharma, A. (1971). Manifest anxiety in Indian children. Indian Educational Review, 6, 67-68.
Nahavandi, N., &Mukundan, J. (2013).Foreign language learning anxiety among Iranian EFL learners along gender and different proficiency levels.Language in India, 13(1), 133-152.
Oxford, R.L. &Shearin, J. (1996).Language learning motivation in a new key. In Oxford, R.L. (ed.), Language learning motivation: Pathways to the new century. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press: 121–144.
Padilla, A. M., Cervantes, R. C., Maldonado, M., &García, R. E. (1988).Coping responses to psychosocial stressors among Mexican and Central American immigrants.Journal of Community Psychology, 16 (4), 418–427.
Qashoa, S. (2006).Motivation among learners of English in the secondary schools in the eastern coast of the UAE.M.A thesis, British University in Dubai.
Ryan, R. M., &Deci, E. L. (2000).Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well- being.American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
Sadighi, F. &Maghsudi, N. (2000).The relationship between motivation and English proficiency among Iranian EFL learners.Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 26, 39-52.
Schlenker, B. R., & Leary, M. R. (1982). Social anxiety and self-presentation: A conceptual model. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 641-669.
Scovels, T. (1991). The effect of anxiety on foreign language learning: A review of the anxiety research. Language Learning, 28, 128-142.
Shirbagi, N. (2010). Orientations and attitudes Of Iranian University Students for English Language Learning.PEDAGOGIKA, 99.
Soupon, V. (2004) Implementing strategies to assist test-anxious students.Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31, 4, 292-296.
Steers, R., & Porter, W. (1991).Motivation and work behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.Inc. Lincoln.
Tanveer, M. (2007). Investigation of the factors that cause language anxiety for ESL/EFL learners in learning speaking skills and the influence it casts on communication in the target language (Master’s thesis). University of Glasgow, England. Retrieved from
Vaezi, Z. (2008). Language learning motivation among Iranian undergraduate students.World Applied Sciences Journal, 5(1), 54-61.
Williams, M. & Burden, R. L. (1997).Psychology for language teachers: A social constructivist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Worde, R. (1998). An investigation of students' perspectives on foreign language anxiety.Unpublished doctoral dissertation, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Zheng, Y. (2008). Anxiety and second/foreign language learning revisited. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 1(1).
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186