Causes of business english speaking anxiety in the Balkans

Slavica Cepon


Learner anxiety is a critical affective factor in foreign languages education. This study investigated the main causes of speaking anxiety in the context of business English (BE) instruction. In-depth interviews were conducted among BE instructors and learners at higher educational institutions in six countries in the Balkans. The study identified several causes of speaking anxiety, the most crucial being the lack of knowledge in economics and the BE lexis as the carrier content in BE learning. And especially so, when the latter combined with other causes, such as the necessity to speak unprepared in class in front of one’s peers, or problems with BE vocabulary acquisition or recollection. A quarter of the interviewees who considered themselves low-anxiety when speaking general English were prone to elevated levels of speaking anxiety when performing complex speaking tasks in BE class which require a degree of fluency in general English.


Business English; speaking anxiety; causes; carrier content; the Balkans; in-depth interviews.

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