The anxiety-proficiency relationship and the stability of anxiety: The case of Chinese university learners of English and Japanese

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Yinxing Jin
Kees de Bot
Merel Keijzer


Adopting a longitudinal design, this study investigates the effects of foreign language anxiety on foreign language proficiency over time within English and Japanese learning contexts. It also explores the stability of anxiety in English and Japanese over time and the stability of anxiety across English and Japanese. Chinese university students (N=146), who were simultaneously learning Japanese and English, participated in this study. Data were collected twice over a 2-month interval, using the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale, the English Proficiency Scale, and the Japanese Proficiency Scale. Results showed that anxiety changes had a significantly negative, but weak, correlation with the development of overall proficiency and the proficiency in sub- skills such as reading or speaking, for both English and Japanese, suggesting the interference of anxiety with proficiency levels. Anxiety in Japanese tended to decrease significantly over time, but no significant change was found for English. Furthermore, no significant difference between anxiety in Japanese and English was found at either testing time.


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How to Cite
Jin, Y., de Bot, K., & Keijzer, M. (2015). The anxiety-proficiency relationship and the stability of anxiety: The case of Chinese university learners of English and Japanese. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 41-63.
Author Biographies

Yinxing Jin, University of Groningen
Yinxing Jin is a PhD student at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, supervised by Prof. Dr. Kees de Bot and Dr. Merel Keijzer. His research interests lie in individual differences in foreign language learning. He is currently researching foreign language anxiety, out of which the current study grew.

Kees de Bot, University of Groningen
Kees de Bot is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands and the University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary. He has published widely on a range of topics, including language attrition, L2 production and the application of dynamic systems theory to language development. His most recent book is A History of Applied Linguistics, 1980-2010 (2015, Routledge).

Merel Keijzer, University of Groningen
Merel Keijzer is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands where she also holds a position as Rosalind Franklin Research Fellow. Her research interests lie in bilingualism across the lifespan, and within that most of her published work focuses on first language attrition.


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