Detecting Perceived Barriers in FLSA: The Socio-Psycholinguistic Study of EFL University Learners

Sameena Malik, Huanq Qin, Ibrahim Oteir, Muhammad Arif Soomro


Speaking is an essential and fundamental aspect of human Language. By acquiring and learning language, individuals can speak and conversate with each other, transmit information and interact. However, in practical aspects, it is somehow, difficult for second and foreign language learners to practice English in their day-to-day life. Despite being competent in their relevant field, many people and professionals worldwide endeavor and struggle due to lack of good communication and speaking skill. Language disorders can be one of the hindrances for many people including EFL university leaners. This study was guided by socio-cultural theory of Vygotsky, comprehensible input hypothesis of Krashen and foreign language anxiety theory of Horwitz. By adopting semi-structured interviews and focus group discussion technique, this study unveiled the psychological, cognitive and socio-cultural perceived hindrances that cause foreign or second language speaking anxiety in Pakistani EFL university learners. The participants of this study were recruited from public sector university in Lahore, Pakistan and were non-English majors (N=8) and aged between (20-26). The collected data was analyzed by employing content analysis technique. The findings indicated that speaking anxiety can originate from students’ own self-perceptions related to thinking process, cognition and linguistic issues such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, unfamiliarity with topics, genre, psychological and affective factors like anxiety, anxious and introvert personality, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, pre-university language experience, time pressure, fear of negative evaluation, instructors’ remarks; socio-cultural factors like lack of comprehensible input and exposure to TL, gender, and role of parents, geographical background, social status and were detected as speaking anxiety inducing factors. This study ventures to contribute to the existing literature on foreign language speaking anxiety among Pakistani EFL university learners. Thus, it can be practically implied from the above-mentioned factors that maximum exposure to English is of great importance and when learning process is mediated by more knowledgeable others and a person or a learner is scaffolded in the company of more knowledgeable others (parents or teachers) he gets the targeted results. Furthermore, friendly classroom environment can be very effective in overcoming speaking disorders and anxiety. The findings of this qualitative research have practical implications for second and foreign language EFL learning.


Anxiety, Perceived Barriers, Foreign Language, Speaking Disorders, Speaking Skills, University Learners

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