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第二語言習得. 組員 : 應英二乙 4A1C0010 陶思寧 4A1C0082 莊巧筠 4A1C0088 侯乃文 4A1C0101 陳憶芳. Anxiety. Intricately intertwined with self-esteem and inhibition and risk-taking, the construct of anxiety plays an important affective role in second language acquisition.

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組員: 應英二乙 4A1C0010 陶思寧

4A1C0082 莊巧筠

4A1C0088 侯乃文

4A1C0101 陳憶芳

  • Intricately intertwined with self-esteem and inhibition and risk-taking, the construct of anxiety plays an important affective role in second language acquisition.
  • The research on anxiety suggests that, like self-esteem, anxiety can be experienced at various levels (Oxford 1999). At the deepest, or global, level, trait anxiety is a more permanent predisposition to be anxious.

At a more momentary, or situational level, state anxiety is experienced in relation to some particular event or act.

  • Three component of foreign language anxiety have been identified in order to break down the construct into researchable issues:
  • Communication apprehension, arising from learners’ inability to adequately express mature thoughts and ideas;
  • Fear of negative social evaluation, arising from a learner’s need to make a positive social impression on others; and
  • Test anxiety, or apprehension over academic evaluation.

Yet another important insight to be applied to our understanding of anxiety lies in the distinction between debilitative and facilitative anxiety (Alpert and Haber 1960, Scovel 1978), or what Oxfoed (1999) called “harmful” and “helpful” anxiety.

  • In Bailey’s (1983) study of competitiveness and anxiety in second language learning, facilitative anxiety was one of the keys to success, closely related to competitiveness. Rogers’s humanistic theory of learning promotes low anxiety among learners and a nondefensive posture where learners do not feel they are in competition with one another.

At other times it motivated her to study harder (as in the case of carrying out an intensive review of material in order to feel more at ease in oral work in the classroom).

  • We find that a construct has an optimal point along its continuum: both too much and too little anxiety may hinder the process of successful second language learning.
  • The human being is a social animal, and the chief mechanism for maintaining the bonds of society is language.
  • Transaction is the process of reaching out beyond the self to others, and language is a major tool used to accomplish that process.
  • A variety of transactional variables may apply to second language learning: imitation, modeling, identification, empathy, extroversion, aggression, styles of communication, and others.

In common terminology, empathy is the process of “putting yourself into someone else’s shoes,” of reaching beyond the self to understand what another person is feeling.

  • It is probably the major factor in the harmonious coexistence of individuals in society.

In more sophisticated terms, empathy is usually described as the projection of one’s own personality into the personality of another in order to understand him or her better.

  • Empathy is not synonymous with sympathy. Empathy implies more possibility of detachment; sympathy connotes an agreement or harmony between individual.

Guiora (1972b: 142) defined empathy as “a process of comprehending in which a temporary fusion of self-object boundaries permits an immediate emotional apprehension of the affective experience of another.


Communication requires a sophisticated degree of empathy.

  • In order to communicate effectively you need to be able to understand the other person’s affective and cognitive states.

Oral communication is a case in which, cognitively at least, it is easy to achieve empathetic communication because there is immediate feedback from the hearer.

  • A misunderstood word, phrase, or idea can be questioned by the hearer and then rephrased by the speaker until a clear message is interpreted.

So in a second language learning situation, the problem of empathy becomes acute. Not only must learner-speakers correctly identify cognitive and affective sets in the hearer, but they must do so in a language in which they are insecure.

  • Then, learner-hearers, attempting to comprehend a second language, often discover that their own states of thought are misinterpreted by a native speaker, and the result is that linguistic, cognitive, and affective information easily passes in one ear and out the other.

Naiman, Frohlich, Stern, and Tedesco (1978, 1996) included an empathy measure (Hogan’s Empathy Scale─see Hogan 1969) in their battery of tests used to try to discover characteristics of the “good language learner,” but found no significant correlation between empathy and language success as measured by an imitation test and a listening test.


Certainly one of the more interestingimplications of the study of empathy is the need to define empathy cross-culturally─to understand how different cultures express empathy.

  • Most of the empathy tests devised in the United States are culture-bound to Western, North American, middle-class society.