Research Forum: Is Grammar Anxiety Hindering English Speaking in Japanese Students?

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Thomas Lockley, Kanda University of International Studies; Stephanie Farrell, Ozyegin University, Turkey

Researchers and teachers have observed time and again that speaking in the L2 causes anxiety in many Japanese students (Cutrone, 2009; Kitano, 2001); the students seem to be afraid of making mistakes in front of their peers and teachers. Is the reason for this fear anxiety about the speaker’s grammar? This study, based on questionnaire data obtained from 54 Japanese EFL students at a university in Japan, explored the relationship between language learners’ confidence in their grammatical ability and their actual speaking performance. The relationships were examined between students’ perceptions of their grammatical competence (self-evaluation), actual speaking level (scores from the Kanda English Proficiency Test [KEPT]), and overall strength in English (scores from the Test of English for International Communication [TOEIC]). Qualitative data collected from the questionnaire was also analysed. The study did not find a significant relationship between confidence in grammar and speaking. Self-perception of grammatical ability appears to have little to do with how a person performs orally.

第二言語で話す時、緊張する学習者がいる(Cutrone, 2009; Kitano, 2001)。また先行研究では、生徒たちがクラスメートたちや先生たちの前での間違え恐れている事が指摘されている。日本人英語学習者は、文法を正しく使えることをどれほど気にとめているのだろうか。この研究は、日本にある私立大学で英語を学習している54人の学習者を対象に、アンケート調査を通し、文法に対する自信とスピーキングスキルにつながりがあるかどうかを、学習者の文法への自信

(自分の評価)、スピーキングスキル(Kanda English Proficiency Testの成績)、全体的な英語能力(TOEICの成績)に焦点を当てて調査した。さらに、学習者が書いたコメントからもデータを得た。この研究では、学習者の文法に対する自信とスピーキングスキルのつながりがとても少ないことが明らかになった。