The principal objective of this study was to investigate the main causes of university students’ English Language speaking anxiety and its effect in English as a foreign language speaking classrooms. To this end, the researcher made a qualitative research design to investigate the issue. To collect the necessary data for the study, interview and focus group discussion were employed as the main data collecting tools. Besides, classroom observation was employed as supporting instruments so as to get valid data to the findings of the study. For this study, the subjects were 125 English as foreign language university learners, 20 university English as a foreign language teachers 15 other concerned bodies that were selected from three government universities of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University, Ambo University and Woldiya University). The study revealed that university students’ foreign language anxiety can basically originate from learners’ fear of negative evaluation by their teachers and classmates, teachers’ inappropriate teaching methodology, social environment and limited exposure to the target language and differences in social status. The obvious signs of anxiety students’ manifest are getting nervous, blushing, rubbing the palms, perspiration, staggered voice, reluctance, poor performance in spoken activities, less enthusiasm or willingness to speak, less eye-contact, reading from the script while giving presentation, either too fast or too slow speed of speech, etc. These signs can change students’ behavior in EFL speaking classroom such as unwillingness to discuss in the target language (English) when they are given pair works and group work activities in speaking classrooms.
Keywords: Foreign Language; Speaking Anxiety; Classroom Interaction; Apprehension Ethiopia