Purpose Learners' emotions are crucial because they contribute to learners' being active and their achievement in foreign language learning. Considering the importance of emotions, this study aimed to measure both foreign language enjoyment and anxiety and determine the underlying of these emotions. Design/methodology/approach A mixed-methods approach was adopted. Quantitative data were gathered from 305 university students of English as a foreign language (EFL) through a scale. Regarding a qualitative part, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 learners to further investigate the variables of foreign language enjoyment and anxiety. Findings Quantitative results confirm the previous research, emphasizing that enjoyment and anxiety are separate dimensions, and foreign language enjoyment is shaped by both learner and social variables. However, qualitative data provide a new understanding, indicating that learner-external variables might overweigh internal variables in a Turkish context in terms of enjoyment. Extrinsic motivational variables (e.g. guidance and role model teachers), institutional variables (e.g. facilities and location) and methodological variables (e.g. teaching methodology) were dominant as different from the findings of the previous research. Originality/value The study found new sources, emphasizing the impact of external variables over emotions. Unlike previous research, this study interestingly suggests that external sources are more influential in Turkish EFL learners, which might be an indication of culture. This is because Turkish learners are mostly not autonomous and dependent on cultural values, expectations, and guidance rather than individualistic perspectives. Thus, the dimensions of the foreign language enjoyment scale might show variance by context, and it is suggested to be adapted appropriately to the different cultures.