Zhentian A. Shen
Anxiety with Dialects
By Jennifer Liggio
In this interview we learn about Alan's linguistic learning experiences he had throughout his life. We also learned why he chose to pursue the certain languages over others. It was especially interesting when Alan described his experience in China, and the way he interacted with people of a different dialect. Alan emphasized how different the Chinese language can be from dialect to dialect. It is especially interesting to learn how Alan viewed the difference between dialects and accents.
Shao, Yu, and Ji thoroughly explain and analyze emotions language learners, such as Alan, experience in their book The Modern Language Journal. In this book we learn that the type of intelligence that Alan uses to interpret individuals from other towns without understanding their language is called emotional intelligence. He uses key gestures, facial expressions, and tones to try to comprehend what is being said to him. Although he may understand critical components of the communication it is quite frustrating when one does not understand the conversation completely. This frustration usually leads to language anxiety.
"In turn, Horwitz (1986) noted that language learners with high levels of anxiety tend to be self-conscious, have difficulty concentrating, and fear making mistakes. As a result, they will avoid communicative situations, study for extended times, become forgetful, and even experience a mental block (Horwitz et al., 1986; Tobias, 1979)." This would explain why Alan gave up on trying to learn the difficult dialects from other Chinese towns. It must be noted that Alan was not defeated by the general concept of foreign languages, but that he did find languages that were simpler and easier to interpret as a learner. Therefore it is safe to conclude that the difficulty of a few languages have the ability to keep language learns at a distance.
Shao, Kaiqi, Weihua Yu, and Zhongmin Ji. "An Exploration of Chinese EFL students' emotional intelligence and Foreign Language Anxiety." The Modern Language Journal. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2013.12042.x/abstract>.
Shen, Zhentian. "Alan's Inky Place - Project 1." Alan's Inky Place. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <http://zhentianashen.weebly.com/project-1.html>.