Department of English Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman
This study investigated the causal relationship between Attitude (Att), Self-esteem (S-e), Ambiguity tolerance (At), Locus of control (Loc) and Language Proficiency (LP) among Iranian EFL learners. It was hypothesized that there are some causal relationships between FL learners’ mentioned variables and their LP. Participants were 172 senior English major university students who filled out the questionnaires for each trait. The statistical procedure of path analysis was utilized to examine the adequacy of the proposed causal models which linked Att, S-e, At, Loc, and LP. Results revealed that , firstly, the total effects in causal models calculated through path analysis were all greater than the direct effect estimated through correlational analysis. This finding is, in fact, the essence of this research in suport of utilizing path analysis rather than simple correlation in studies about learners' variables. Secondly, the highest total positive effect was related to Model 2 in which Att affected LP through all other variables. Moreover, S-e had a significant total effect and At had a non-significant total effect and Loc (external) showed a negative total effect on LP. From the findings of this study, it can be concluded that attitude has a determining role in language learning process. The findings clearly demonstrated that causal modeling path analysis can serve as a versatile tool in research in applied linguistics, because it reveals the more complicated interplay of the learners' variables.