Investigating the Inhibitive Factors in the Speaking of Iranian EFL Learners

Fateme Abedini, Azizeh Chalak


Speaking is an essential language skill and children develop speaking before reading and writing. Survival in society without being able to speak properly is almost impossible. The current study was an attempt to identify the obstacles Iranian EFL learners experience when speaking English in foreign language classrooms and also to identify strategies teachers use to deal with such obstacles. The participants of the study were 60 language learners with equal English language proficiency and 20 EFL teachers. In order to identify the inhibition sources in speaking a questionnaire on inhibition was administered to the 60 selected learners and to elicit information about teachers’ strategies to reduce the inhibitions, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 teachers. Based on the students’ responses to the questionnaire, the most influential factor contributing to inhibition in speaking was negative evaluation followed by anxiety and confidence, linguistic and topical knowledge, classroom environment and instruction quality. On the other hand, teachers listed three types of strategies to reduce inhibition in speaking as strategies for creating anxiety-free and friendly environment, using popular topics for speaking, and using positive feedback. Based on the results of the study, it can be concluded that psychological factors are among the most influential factors contributing to inhibition in speaking among Iranian EFL learners. The results of the study could give sufficient insight to teachers regarding debilitative factors in speaking which can consequently could encourage teachers to provide learners with better speaking opportunities.


foreign language speaking, inhibition, inhibition in speaking, speaking, strategies in reducing inhibition

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research