Foreign Language Anxiety: The Manifestation of Language Aptitude Differences?
Foreign language anxiety FLA is generally considered one of the individual learner variables accounting for differential success in learning a second language L2. This view of FLA, attributing a primary causal role to anxiety in language achievement, however, is not universally accepted. Some researchers have questioned whether anxiety plays an important role in language learning, suggesting that FLA is more likely to be a consequence rather than a cause of individual differences in L2 achievement. It has been proposed that unexamined language variables may be confounding the issue Sparks and Ganschow 2007; Sparks and Patton 2013. To test this proposition, the article examines the relationship between FLA and performance on measures of FL proficiency, FL course achievement, and FL aptitude. The participants are Hungarian university students majoring in English N = 107. The article focuses on the question whether learners with high, average, and low levels of FLA exhibit significant differences on the examined measures, with an aim to establish whether their L2-related anxiety is simply the manifestation of linguistic aptitude differences, and whether FL aptitude is confounding the anxiety-achievement relationship.