Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 4 December 2023                           Pp.46-65

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Shyness and Willingness to Communicate: Levels, Correlations, and Perspectives of Saudi
EFL Learners

Lubna Alnaeem
Department of English Language and Literature
College of Languages and Translation
Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author:

Amal Alwasidi
Department of English Language and Literature
College of Languages and Translation
Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Received:07/14/2023         Accepted:11/09/2023                 Published: 12/15/2023


A primary effort has been exerted in the literature to examine how influential affective factors are in language learning. The present study extends these attempts and aims at reviewing the levels of shyness and willingness to communicate among EFL learners and the relation between these two affective factors and their impact on communication skills inside the class from the students’ perspectives. It sheds light on the need to consider the effects of these personal traits on students’ learning. 360 Saudi EFL learners at a Saudi public university completed the shyness and willingness to communicate scales. For further analysis, the researchers interviewed 27 students to explore their perceptions of how these two aspects affect their communication skills inside the class. Quantitative data analysis showed that most participants were at the mid-levels of both scales. Furthermore, there was a negative correlation between the participants’ shyness and their overall willingness to communicate and its subcategories, with the highest correlation value between shyness and these subcategories: strangers, meetings, and public speaking. Qualitative analysis exhibited the participants’ perceptions, misconceptions, correlations of the two variables, and determinants of the participants’ levels of shyness and WTC. The findings of this study shed light on the importance of considering these factors for more successful learning/teaching experiences.
Keywords: communication skills, Saudi EFL learners, shyness, willingness to communicate,

Cite as: Alnaeem, L., & Alwasidi, A. (2023). Shyness and Willingness to Communicate: Levels, Correlations, and Perspectives of Saudi EFL Learners. Arab World English Journal, 14 (4) 46-65.


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Received: 07/14/2023
Accepted: 11/09/2023 
Published: 12/15/2023

Dr. Lubna Alnaeem is an assistant professor of applied linguistics. She has been lecturing different linguistics and language skills courses. She collaborates with researchers and educators as she is interested in language teaching and learning, individual differences, curriculum development and teacher cognition. ORCID:

Dr. Amal Alwasidi is an assistant professor of applied linguistics. She delivers lectures on diverse topics related to applied linguistics and helps students explore concepts through stimulating class discussions. She is currently working closely with professors to support collaborative research in the areas of second/foreign language teaching and learning, curriculum development, and language teacher professional development. ORCID: