December 2005
Volume 9, Number 3

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Potential Sources of Anxiety for Japanese Learners of English: Preliminary Case Interviews with Five Japanese College Students in the U.S.

Kota Ohata
International Christian University
Tokyo, Japan


This study explores the nature of language anxiety from the perspective of five Japanese learners of English (ESL), especially in reference to their self-reflective accounts of emotional difficulties encountered in the U.S. college settings. Through the use of an in-depth qualitative interview format, this study attempts to identify potential sources of anxiety relevant to their affective needs or concerns as Japanese ESL learners in a cross-cultural learning environment. As the interview findings indicate, characteristics of language anxiety exhibited by the participants seem to be quite influenced by Japanese cultural norms or expectations acquired through numerous socialization processes in Japan. Using Young's (1991) six sources of language anxiety as a theoretical guideline for data collection and analysis, this study also discusses some of the influences or impact of those anxiety-provoking factors on L2 learning, along with some implications for further research on language anxiety and for ESL teaching.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, anxiety, overseas study, Japanese

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