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Foreign language reading anxiety: Chinese as a foreign language in the United States

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Abstract

This study examined the foreign language (FL) reading anxiety level of English-speaking university students learning Chinese as a foreign language (n = 114) in the United States. Data from two anxiety measures, a background information questionnaire, and an email interview indicated that learners of Chinese experienced a level of FL reading anxiety similar to general FL anxiety. FL reading anxiety was associated with course level and experience with China but not with gender. Moreover, FL reading anxiety was found to be negatively correlated with FL reading performance among Elementary Level I and Intermediate Level students but not among Elementary Level II students. Unfamiliar scripts, unfamiliar topics, and worry about comprehension were identified as the major sources of FL reading anxiety. Findings suggest that reading anxiety was a salient problem for learners of Chinese whose native language was English.

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