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Keywords:

  • adult language learning;
  • heritage and nonheritage language learners;
  • intercultural participation;
  • language learning anxiety;
  • online language learning
  • relevant to all languages

Abstract: This study investigated self-assessed anxious learners who enrolled in online Spanish courses to determine if their anxiety was mediated by the lack of face-to-face (F2F) and other synchronous learning interactions. Participants were enrolled in courses at two postsecondary institutions located in south-central Texas. Narrative analysis was used to interpret the interview data. Findings indicated participants experienced language anxiety because their previous F2F and online learning experiences enforced the concept of language as performance with a focus on correctness and precision. However, intercultural respect and a desire to participate meaningfully with diverse cultural communities became a resource for our participants as they wrestled with language learning anxiety and persisted in their learning endeavors. Implications for designing online language instruction for anxious, self-directed adults are offered.