Investigating the Relationship between Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Language Anxiety and Their Reading Ability

Document Type : Original Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Islamic Azad University, Urmia, Iran


The present study examined the correlation between EFL learners’ language anxiety and their reading ability. To this end, first, 200 intermediate-level EFL learners including 100 male and 100 female learners were selected from among the learners of a private language institute in Urmia as the participants based on their results on a proficiency test. Second, the participants received Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope’s (1986) Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale and completed it in about twenty-five minutes. Third, they took the researcher-made reading comprehension test of the study and answered its items in about forty minutes. The study was carried out in three sessions within a one-week period. Pearson Product Moment Correlation test was used for data analysis. The results of the study highlighted the fact that there were significant negative correlations between language anxiety and reading ability for both of the male and female EFL learners. It was argued that, the negative correlations between the participants’ language anxiety and reading ability stemmed from: a) the debilitative role of anxiety in language learning; b) learners’ lack of ability to recognize and adapt themselves to the cultural, social, and linguistic characteristics of the native speakers of the target language; c) the effect of formal evaluation on the learners’ task performance; d) learners’ underestimation of their capabilities to use the second language; and e) learners’ inability to utilize efficient communication and group-based strategies in the context of the classroom.