An Acoustic Study of Communication Apprehension during English Oral Presentations by Japanese University Students

  •  Hiroko Nakamura    
  •  Kazuhiro Nomura    
  •  Namie Saeki    


This study investigated the influence of communication apprehension and anxiety in second-language (L2) learning on oral performance of Japanese university students in terms of F0 (fundamental frequency) analysis. The participants were English-major students (3 males and 6 females) who presented at an oral communication festival for university students. The F0 analysis consisted of a mean F0 and F0 range. The participants’ utterances were digitized and analysed with Praat. Participants also completed two structured closed-ended questionnaires: a Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA) and a Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). One subscale of PRCA is Speech Anxiety (SA) that measures apprehension in public speaking. Acoustic analysis of F0 was conducted of the utterances provided by the students and their F0 data during rehearsal and the actual performance settings. The results revealed a significant difference in mean F0 between the rehearsal and actual performance. Mean F0 was significantly correlated with SA. These results suggest that students tend to show higher speech anxiety during an actual performance setting that is also reflected by a higher speaking F0.

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