Foreign Language Anxiety and Enjoyment in an Imagined Community

Majid Elahi Shirvan
University of Bojnord
Nahid Talebzadeh
University of Bojnord
Keywords: Anxiety, enjoyment, imagined community, negative emotions, positive emotions


Learning a foreign language can be frustrating for some people and very enjoyable for some others. Emotions are one of the most important factors in the use of English as a foreign language located in the center of attention of many researchers. One of the emotion-inducing contexts for learning English as a foreign language can be the setting of an imagined community. Our focus in this study was on the emergence of emotions, both positive and negative, of three groups of six university students engaged in an English-speaking literature criticism TV program as an imagined community. The program encompassed a specific day to discuss a fiction and a final report of the program specified for publication in one of the well-established literary bulletins. Each member constructed a specific imagined identity in each group as critics, photographers, reporters, and presenters competing with each other for the final selection of the best critique and presentation on the discussion day as well as the publication of the best report. A triangulation of data was gathered including an interview, observation, an open-ended questionnaire as well as personal journals which were qualitatively analyzed. The results showed the emergence of enjoyment resulting from the constructed imagined identities in the classroom as well as facilitative negative emotions such as anxiety leading to the consolidation of the participants’ imagined affiliations.

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