Assessing Willingness to Communicate in the Multilingual Environment


The paper describes the results of an empirical study supported by the McCroskey’s Willingness to Communicate Scale and the findings of the self-assessed communication apprehension survey. The research was carried out in the context of the Russian regional university under internationalization. The respondents included two groups of Russian students and one group of foreign students (52 people in total). The answers given by the students enabled assessment of the level of anxiety they could experience in the proposed communication contexts: public speaking; communication in a small group; speech at a meeting; and interpersonal talk. Supposedly, a high level of readiness for communication in a foreign language would indicate the person’s psychological security and lack of discomfort when networking. In addition, the research aimed to find a correlation between the number of foreign languages and the duration of their study, and the individual’s desire to engage in verbal communication with strangers. According to the results of the communication apprehension test, all the students showed an average index of communication anxiety, and this moderate level can complicate their future introduction into a diverse professional community. Also, this study revealed that the number of languages and the willingness to communicate do not correlate. However, the number of years students learn languages is directly linked with their willingness to communicate. It is suggested that the quasi-communicative format of teaching foreign languages in the classrooms contrasts sharply with the emerging dynamic multicultural space of the university.

Keywords: willingness to communicate, communication apprehension, foreign language environment

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