Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Verner Mitchell

Committee Member

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Lyn Fogle


Self-perceived communication competence (SPCC) is among the most influential factors affecting language learners' willingness to communicate (WTC) in the L2. SPCC might be a determining factor influencing whether L2 users engage in communicative acts. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate Saudi English Majors' perceptions of their oral communication competence and tendency to communicate in English as an L2. Moreover, it seeks to examine whether there is a correlation between Saudi English undergraduate majors' SPCC and WTC. It also explores some major factors that account for Saudi English majors' oral communication competence and how such factors improve/hinder this type of competence. Employing a mixed-methods design, this study utilized a survey consisting of two questionnaires and semi-structured oral interviews to collect data from 100 English majors enrolled in the third and fourth/final year in a bachelor's program in English in addition to four students who had recently graduated. The findings revealed that Saudi English majors did not have a high tendency to communicate in English in various situations; they perceived themselves as moderately competent in English, and there was a significant positive correlation between English majors' SPCC and WTC. Moreover, five major factors, including personal, pedagogical, curricular, social interaction of students, and frequency of communication, were identified that comprised positive and negative aspects affecting the development of students' oral communication competence. Several positive aspects were advanced in this study, such as exerting self-effort to practice English outside the classroom, using resources to orally communicate online, and students' perceptions of the importance of developing oral competence in English. Negative aspects included methodologies of teaching in the bachelor's program, a lack of curricular focus on oral skills, and a lack of opportunities to communicate in English inside and outside the classroom. This study indicated that Saudi English majors did not have advanced oral communication competence, which translated into low WTC in English and affected oral language use.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.