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Language Anxiety is always present in every individual who is not a native [speaker] of such a language and definitely, culture, which he or she is going to get into. Anxiety is a general concept, a phenomenon which influences people across the world, regardless of age, gender or race. Various explanation of anxiety in the past, from the simple ones, proposed by Freud (1963) who defined anxiety as “1) a specific unpleasurable quality, 2) efferent or discharge phenomena, and 3) the perception of these”, to the more complex definitions which define anxiety as “an unpleasant emotional state of condition which is characterized by subjective feelings or tension, apprehension and worry, and by activation or arousal of the autonomic nervous system that accompanies these feelings”.
Significantly, Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope (1986), as cited in Foreign Language Learning Anxiety in Japanese EFL University Classes: Causes, Coping, and Locus of Control by Williams and Andrade (2008), opined that language learning anxiety is being credited to the inability of an individual to present ideas and opinions and as well one can in the target language which can destabilize confidence and threaten an individual’s self-image. In dealing with such anxiety in general and language anxiety in particular, individuals usually exhibit what is called coping mechanism. These are ways to which external or internal stress is managed, adapted to or acted upon (https://explorable. com/stress-and-coping-mechanisms). Susan Folkman and Richard Lazarus define coping as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing”. In the Philippines, it is common for people to move in to another place, usually, in view of higher education studies. Thus, those who are from the province typically would send themselves to the city in order to study particularly, college. Hence, Tausugs who are from the provinces of Sulu, usually come to the nearest city, which is Zamboanga City, to have their education furthered. Entailed to this necessity is the challenge of adapting the language that the Zamboangueños speak, which is Chabacano.
Reflecting on the researchers’ language experience, they put forward this inquiry in light of knowing the coping mechanisms of Tausugs who are deemed native when in caught up in a conversation with speakers of Chabacano. Studies that deal with second and foreign language anxiety are teeming in the language research communities yet inquiries about language anxiety that exist among the languages in a country like the Philippines are somewhat scarce. Therefore, the researchers tried to put forward the assumptions on foreign language anxiety in the context of the Philippines where different co-exist with one another. Thus, with what have been laid down, the researchers, therefore, put forward the following problem and objective of the study:
Research Problem 1. What are the language anxiety coping mechanisms of the native Tausug Speakers in a Chabacano speech community?
Research Objective 1. The objective of the study is to know about the coping mechanisms of the native Tausug Speakers in a Chabacano speech community?
The implication of this study would help promote mutual understanding between native and non-native speakers in an area where multilingualism exists. Zamboanga City can be considered a multilingual and multicultural domain as it is known as the melting pot of different cultures in the country.
This research is purely qualitative in orientation, having employed individual focus interviews that have been the basis of the participants’ narratives about their experiences in coping with such predicaments. The study could have been an auto ethnographic study but the researchers have decided to maintain it to be a case study-like for this matter. As cited in the paper of Guillergan in 2008, Coping Skills are defined as “skills used to reduce stress or pressure from a difficult circumstance. ” These are “defense mechanisms” in the psychological terms and are used to work against the lack of something, according to Hayes. In this part, the researchers would be presenting the data that were gathered from the participants of the study which were picked using the purposive sampling method. The participants were chosen based on the particular criteria that the proponents have imposed in order to make the study feasible to answer and satisfy its objectives. The qualifications for the participants were the following: he or she should be a native Tausug speaker; does not speak Chabacano; and most specially, he or she should be from the province of Sulu and have moved in to the city for his or her study or looking forward to a better living here. In this undertaking, most of the participants that the researchers have gotten were students who are studying in the city for their college education. All of them were ultimately qualified.
The research specifically aimed to find out the coping mechanisms of the native Tausug speakers when confronted by such predicament, that is, in a discourse or conversation with Chabacano speakers. The following are the results, which are the narratives taken from the participants of the study about their coping mechanisms in such situation. The study called out for four (4) participants that have answered the research problem.
When I got here in the City, especially when I entered the University, I felt like I am an outcast. It was because majority of my classmates were Chabacano and Bisaya speakers. So it was a little hard for me. Even though some of the time my parents way back home spoke Chabacano, well, it was not enough for me to make me understand the language that good. So what I did and even do since I am not that versed til now, was that I always pretended I understood what my classmates and even teachers had said when they spoke Chabacano or their own language so to not be left behind. Sometimes I would ask my friends or my classmates but then most of the time I just pretended to have understood what they were saying. I would always think that I should not tell them that I do not understand. It just makes me feel awkward and lost. That is why most of the time I just let them think that I understood what they said. I asked my close friends about the terms that I do not know but even though they are my friends I sometimes feel uncomfortable asking them about it.
Nung mag aral na ako dito, I was so nervous because I do not know how to speak the language tho I still do understand a little. When my friends conversed in Chabacano I felt like awkward. I even thought that they might be saying bad to me. When in class, when the teacher would speak in Chabacano, it was kind of a disadvantage because importants points in class discussion were said through their language of which I do not seem to comprehend thoroughly so it was quite negative. I had to ask my seat mates about what the teacher was elaborating. Ang mahirap kasi is maskin dito na sa Zamboanga, we do not still speak Chabacano at home since we are using our mother tongue Tausug. You see, immersion to the language does not permit me since as I said we do not speak it. Little less only at school as when I communicate with them I just speak in Tagalog. I just showed gesture that signified I understood them. Most of the time I avoid having conversations with them and if ever I would get caught up, I just maintained speaking Tagalog so they would be informed that I am not going to speak or response back in Chabacano.
What I usually did to cope with it was I always turned away from the conversation. When the teacher would speak Chabacano in the class, I do not let them feel my presence in class since I was afraid of being called especially in one of our classes which it was really necessary. I have friends who do not really understand too so when we were in class, we usually pretend that we understood by making gestures to say that we did understand them even though we do not, if not totally, just a little. But I really tried my best to learn the language by mingling with those who are native speakers of the language and I would ask them when I did not know some words and from that I would be able to form sentences that I can use whenever it favors the situation. I cope with it by gradually learning the language so that I would not feel out of the group since I am living here.
When I got here the first thing that I felt was that I was a little bit lost because of the language. Many of my classmates were Chabacano and they were not so good in speaking my language. With that I have had a hard time expressing myself but there is always Tagalog. But it did not always work because they are more of their language but still I have to stick to speaking tagalog. The thing that I did was to be with my classmate who I made my friend so she taught me how to speak the language so I can have the confidence to converse with the other people. It was hard learning the language since I am a Tausug and it was quite different from the Chabacano. Sometimes I pretended to understand and just ask my classmate secretly so I would be laughed about.
In relation to the study of Terui (2012), the results of this study also arrived at almost the same corroboration. Pretending as a Communicative Strategy seemed to dominate among the responses of the participants based on their narratives. In the study of Terui (2012), under the metatheme, Pretending as a Communication Strategy, eleven pretending behavior themes emerged. International students described their pretending experiences as attempts to (1) protect self-esteem, (2) respond to social pressure, (3) express concern for others’ feelings, (4) cope with anxiety, (5) keep conversation flowing, (6) keep conversation open, (7) avoid extra efforts, (8) fill in gaps, (9) make use of (an)other source(s), (10) elicit confirmation, and (11) take advantage of status.
The outcome of the study found out that the most common coping mechanism of the Native Tausug speakers when in a discourse or conversation with Chabacano speakers is pretending that they know what is being said for two main reasons: (1) protect self-esteem and (2) respond to social pressure. Protect Self-esteem. Respond to the speaker vulnerability by trying to maintain their own self-image, akin to what they were accustomed to in their native community. This effort to save one’s self-image was seen in the participants’ comments. Trying to keep a positive self-image in conversation with native speakers. From the response of Participant No. 1, “I would always think that I should not tell them that I do not understand. It just makes me feel awkward and lost. ” Evidently, the participant was very conscious about her self-image more than anything.
Respond to Social Pressure. People always receive some influence from society because they value commonality in societ. Since individuals are raised to be “completely socially adjusted at any age, ” they often perceive others’ expectations to be universal. The individual acquires this universality unconsciously in society and seldom questions its validity unless encountering others with different ideas of universality. Perhaps, with the scarcity of research that deal with the same point of reference, the researchers recommend further studies in light of, as has been said, promoting mutual understanding between native and non-native speakers in an area where multilingualism exists.
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