An Exploratory Study of Beliefs about Foreign Language Learning Among Self-Learners of English in Saudi Arabia


  • Nouf Aljasir Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, English Language Institute, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



learner belief, foreign language learning, self-learner, self-rated proficiency


This mixed-method exploratory study was conducted to investigate the types of beliefs that Saudi self-learners of English as a foreign language bring to the learning process. It also examined the possible links between those beliefs and self-rated English proficiency and explored whether individual factors, such as age and gender, played a role in shaping the learners’ beliefs. Data were collected from 243 participants, using three instruments, two quantitative and one qualitative. The first was the Background Information Questionnaire, which was designed specifically for this study and consisted of two parts. The first part collected demographic data about the learners, and the second part elicited the participants’ self-rated English proficiency in the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The second questionnaire was a modified version of Horwitz’s (1985) Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) and consisted of 27 items. The qualitative data were collected using one-on-one retrospective interviews, mainly to support and interpret the questionnaire results. The findings revealed that the beliefs of the participants were mostly realistic. Further, a significant positive correlation at the .01 level was found between the learners’ belief that they had foreign language aptitude and their self-rated English proficiency. The results of independent samples t-tests revealed two significant differences in learner beliefs according to gender and four significant ones according to age. The study concluded by offering recommendations and suggestions for further research in the field.


Received: 3 December 2020 / Accepted: 27 January 2021 / Published: 3 January 2022


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How to Cite

Aljasir, N. . (2022). An Exploratory Study of Beliefs about Foreign Language Learning Among Self-Learners of English in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 12(1), 37.