Conceptualizing and Measuring the Construct of Pronunciation Anxiety: Results of a Pilot Study

  • Małgorzata Baran-ŁucarzEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Language anxiety has serious repercussions for the process of foreign language (FL) learning and use. Some scholars (e.g., MacIntyre, 1999) even consider it the strongest predictor of success in FL learning. At the same time, several studies have suggested that the most anxiety-generating skill is speaking and that the FL aspect which frequently causes apprehension and fear of being ridiculed is pronunciation (e.g., Phillips, 1992; Price, 1991; Young, 1992). Interestingly, though several language-specific anxiety types have been identified and tools to measure them have been devised, no attempt to examine in depth the construct of anxiety related specifically to FL pronunciation and to design an instrument to diagnose it has been made. A better understanding of the concept seems particularly important when taking into account the fact that speaking is a condition necessary for acquisition (e.g., Savignon, 2005; Skehan, 1989) and that pronunciation anxiety (PA) appears to be significantly related to students’ willingness to communicate in the FL classroom (Baran-Łucarz, 2014a). The present paper has three major aims. First of all, it presents a working model of PA, whose underlying subcomponents are pronunciation self-perceptions (pronunciation self-image, self-efficacy and self-assessment), fear of negative evaluation, and a set of beliefs about pronunciation learning, its role in communication, and about how it sounds. Secondly, the initial version of an instrument (i.e., the Measure of Pronunciation Anxiety in the FL Classroom), designed to measure the construct is introduced. Thirdly, results of piloting the questionnaire among 151 young adults, and establishing its reliability and validity are reported. The paper closes with suggestions on how to refine the instrument and ideas for future research in this area.


Negative Evaluation Foreign Language Target Language Pilot Version Scholastic Competence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am most grateful to dr. Jacek Rysiewicz for his invaluable feedback on the MPA-FLC. I am also indebted to the students for agreeing to take part in the study and their teachers for helping to collect the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WrocławWrocławPoland

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