Factors Influencing the Second Language Acquisition Essay Example
Factors Influencing the Second Language Acquisition Essay Example

Factors Influencing the Second Language Acquisition Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (724 words)
  • Published: November 13, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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Factors influencing the learning of a second/foreign language Some students learn a new language quickly and easily than others. This simple fact reflects the hard work and persistence of the learner. However there are other crucial factors influencing the success that are totally beyond the control of the learner. These factors can be categorized as: 1. Age: second language acquisition is influenced by the age of the learner. Many studies have found that adolescents learn more rapidly than children and adults.

This explains that the age of the learner does not affect the route (way) to second language acquisition; instead it affects the rate (degree of speed) of learning. Another impact of the age is the development of cognitive abilities with age. This explains why young children do not response to the form of the language that they are learning, while adults and adolescents do. But it could inhibit


natural automatic language learning and may be responsible for the failure of adult second language learners to achieve native speaker equivalent pronunciation and intonation.

Personality Factors: learner’s personality may influence the second language acquisition from various dimensions.

a. Self-esteem (confidence): learners who trust their ability in performing specific tasks have been found to be successful learners.

b. Extroversion (sociability): extrovert people are known to be better learners, because they look for affirmation of self-esteem from others.

c. Anxiety (nervousness): it has been found that anxiety may motivate the learner to try again and fight the learning task. There are two types of anxiety: facilitative (the learner repeats his attempt at a given task), and debilitative (it inhibits the learner sinc

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it motivates him to avoid the new learning task).

d. Risk-taking (adventuresome): it motivates the learner to try new things, so it is behind a successful language learner. e. Empathy (understanding): it means understanding and feeling what others understand and feel i.

e. it plays a role in making the learner a better one. f. Inhibition (shyness): it is related to self-esteem. The more self-esteem a person has, the less inhibited s/he is.

Learners who are not inhibited are expected to be better learners.

Psychological factors: a. Motivation: it has been found that a better learner is the one who has a desire to learn a language and who is motivated by his/ her environment. Two types of motivation that can be distinguished: integrative (a person is integratively motivated when s/he wishes to integrate himself with 2L people and culture); instrumental (a person is instrumentally motivated when s/he learns 2L as a means to get a high social or an economic status).

Attitude: positive or negative attitude towards a learning task may influence the learner. Three main types of attitude: Attitudes towards the speaker of 2L. Attitudes towards learning a specific 2L.  Attitudes towards language learning in general. However, positive attitude toward 2L is a factor of success in 2LA. Cognitive factors: students with greater cognitive abilities will make the faster progress in learning 2L.

there are three cognitive variables: *Cognitive process:  Cognitive style: it is related the learner’s personality, ex: a reflective cognitive style grows out of a reflective personality.  Learning strategies: refers to the different techniques which the learner uses to acquire knowledge.  Neurological factors: the critical

period is associated to the neurological (brain) development i. e. with beginning and completion of the brain lateralization.

It has been found that the first and second language acquisition is more successful before the completion of lateralization, but after it, the brain loses its plasticity and the task becomes difficult. There are different age periods for the successful acquisition. There are lower order processes, such as pronunciation which dependent on early neurological development; and higher order functions, such as syntactic, semantic relations which are dependent on later neurological development.

Socio-cultural factors: this factor may influence the SLA from many dimensions:

a. In order to acquire a language, the learner must acquire its cultural context; this is called acculturation (cultural shock is a part of this aspect).

b. In order to acquire a language, the learner must keep an open mind towards the culture of this language; this is called stereotypes.

c. The social distance between the language’s culture and native culture may influence the SLA. The more the cultures are distant, the less the acquisition is easier, and vice versa.

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