Student and Instructor Beliefs and Attitudes about Target Language Use, First Language Use, and Anxiety: Report of a Questionnaire Study



This article presents the results of an anonymous, Internet-based questionnaire study on target language (TL) and first language (L1) use in university-level foreign language (FL) classes. The participants were 600 FL students and 163 FL instructors. The goals of the study were to develop preliminary components of a descriptive model of TL and L1 use and explore the relationships between TL use and student anxiety about TL use. It was hypothesized that (a) amounts of TL use would vary according to constellation of interlocutors and communicative contexts, and (b) the amount of TL use overall would correlate positively with student anxiety about it. The results support the first hypothesis. The second hypothesis was not supported. Analysis of the data revealed a negative relationship between reported amounts of TL use and reported TL-use anxiety. Tenets are offered for maximizing TL use while at the same time granting to L1 pedagogically sound functions.