Individual differences and second language acquisition - Essay Example

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Individual differences and second language acquisition

ional or biological factors enhance the differences amid humans, and there are ways that individuals use to learn their variations, although their interaction and introspection with other individuals can be similar. In this regard, it is crucial to evaluate the individual differences that influence second language acquisition. Among the factors that will be evaluate include; age, learning styles, individual motivation, learning strategies, sex, personality and aptitude.
One of the most influential individual differences that affect the acquisition of second language is age. Ehrman, Leaver and Oxford (2003) hold that children and young individuals have a better chance of acquiring a second language as compared to older individuals; the argument is that there is a certain age limit at which children have the ability to acquire a second language at a faster rate. Beyond that age, physiological transformations in the brain force it to lose its capacity to intake new functions of acquiring a new language. For persons that have been deprived off the ability for linguistic input require a trigger that enhances the acquisition of the first language and this occurs at a critical period. Zafar and Meenakshi (2012) cite a case in which a 13 year old girl that had been abused and kept away from any languages was rescued; unfortunately, regardless of the numerous efforts to teach her the first language so as she would communicate, Genie never learnt the language. This finding led to a long and controversial debate which sought to determine the appropriate time in which an individual can acquire a new language. In other words, scholars held that there is a critical period at which an individual can acquire a new language and it is controlled by the physiological transformations that take place in the brain. The explanation given is that as an individual becomes older, the level of self-conscious increases and it hinders the ability to learn a second language. The sensitive ...Show more


Individual variations comprise of factors such as motivation levels, age, sex, personality, learning styles and learning strategies. These are the factors that influence and…
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