Psychology of language learning - Assignment Example

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It is noticeable that individuals rarely speak only one language.Tucker asserts that there are more bilinguals than monolinguals. He went on to suggest that many went to schools where the medium of instruction is not their mother tongues, but a language that they have acquired later in life. …
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Psychology of language learning
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Download file to see previous pages It is noticeable that individuals rarely speak only one language. Tucker (as cited in Gardner, n.d.) asserts that there are more bilinguals than monolinguals. He went on to suggest that many went to schools where the medium of instruction is not their mother tongues, but a language that they have acquired later in life. In this context, learning second language may sound easy; the fact, however, is that this kind of language learning is a complex process, and many people who have studied another language found such an objective very difficult, even impossible (Gardner: 2010). They suggest that individual differences (ID) can affect the success of L2 learning and acquisition. Although one can surmise that individual differences are those which make any person unique, psychology takes on a more specific definition: “ID constructs refer to dimensions of enduring personal characteristics that are assumed to apply to everybody and on which people differ by degree” (Dornyei: 2005: 4). In other words, individual differences constitute traits that may be used to categorize people but which, when given a closer look, actually vary from one person to another.There are many aspects of individual learner differences in second language (L2) learning. The literature has provided factors such as age, intelligence, motivation, and language anxiety (Chen, Wang & Cai: 2010) to be influential in determining the success of second language acquisition. Other bodies of research indicate that personality and aptitude are other major predictors of L2 learning. F or example, Skehan (Sturgeon: 2011) indicates that aptitude is a major predictor of L2 learning. Aptitude applies to traits involving reasoning and processing of information in reference to a specific area of performance (Sturgeon: 2011). There’s also some research implying that learning styles have a definitive effect on L2 acquisition. Reid (Dornyei: 2005: 121) defines the construct as “an individual’s natural, habitual, and preferred way (s) of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skills.” The definition implies that learners have a different approach in processing a similar task. Similarly, learning styles are not innate but are personal preferences (Dornyei: 2005). As such there is no standard on which learning style would directly lead to success in L2 learning. Motivation and Second Language Learning Perhaps one of the most studied variables in L2 learning is motivation. According to Keller (Gardner: 2005: 3), “motivation refers to the choices people make as to what experiences or goals they will approach or avoid, and the degree and effort they will exert in this respect.” In the earliest work of Gardner and Lambert (1959: 271), however, motivation was defined as “characterized by willingness to be like valued members of the language community.” From both points of view, it can be inferred that motivation is something that stems from the individual or the learner. Gardner’s Definition of Motivation Much of the research today linking motivation and second language learning were patterned after the works of Gardner whose interest in both concepts began in 1956 while working with his thesis advisor W.E. Lambert. Before, the general agreement was that intelligence and verbal ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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