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Factors affecting second language acquisition


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Factors affecting second language acquisition

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION It is quite observable that some learners learn a new language more quickly than others, because they are successful by virtue of their strong determination, hard work and persistence. Yet, some other learners are not very successful in learning a new language, and it is obvious that there are some crucial factors influencing success, which are mostly beyond the control of the learner. These factors can roughly be categorised as ‘individual (internal) factors, external factors, and lastly as ‘affective factors’.
  3. 3. I. INDIVIDUAL FACTORS 1. Age 2. Personality 3. Motivation 4. Experiences 5. Cognition 6. Native language
  4. 4. II. EXTERNAL FACTORS  1. Curriculum  2. Instruction  3. Culture&Status  4. Motivation  5. Access to Native Speakers
  5. 5. III. AFFECTIVE FACTORS  1. Self-esteem  2. Inhibition  3. Risk taking  4. Anxiety  5. Empathy
  6. 6. 1.1. AGE the age of the learner influences the 2LA Children having strong literacy skills in their own language, seem to be in a better position to acquire a new language in a more effective way. Very motivated, older learners can do it, but usually they should try hard to become a native- like speaker. “You can't teach an old dog new tricks” (Idiomatic Expression)
  7. 7. It has been hypothesised that there is a critical period in 2nd LA just like there is for 1st LA. CHP: there is a time in human developement when the brain is predisposed for success in language learning. Opposite findings  Language learning that occurs after the end of CP may not be based on innate(biological) structures, but rather depend on more „general‟ learning abilities, and innate capacities are much more effective for lang.learning.  The CP ends somewhere around puberty.  Patkowski (1982) found that age of acqusition is very important factor in setting limits on the developement of native-like mastery of a 2LA, and this limit does not only apply to accent, but also applies to syntax and morpology.  He found that learners who started earliest achieved the higest scores on the grammatical tasks, and those who began later didnt have native like language abilities.  Studies demonstrate that adults and adolescents learnt faster than children in the first year of 2LA developement. (Asher & Price, 1967; Snow & Hoefnagle-Hoechle, 1978 cited in McLaughlin, 1992)
  8. 8. Effects of age on RATE of second language learning  Adults are superior to children in rate of acquisition  Older children learn more rapidly than younger children  With regards to morphology and syntax, the adolescents do best, followed by the adults and then the children  Grammar differences diminish over time, and children begin to catch up, but adults outperform children in the short term  Where pronunciation is concerned, adults do not always progress more rapidly than children do  Thus: adults learn faster than children, and this is more applicable to grammar than pronunciation, although in the case of formal learning situations adults seem to do better even in the pronunciation area. It is not clear when children start to catch up.  ( que/Topic4factors.pdf)
  9. 9. 1.2. PERSONALITY Introverted or anxious learners usually perform slower progress, especially in the development of oral skills. They are less likely to take opportunities to speak. More outgoing students will not worry about the inevitability of making mistakes. They do not care about taking risks; thus they get more chances to do much more practice in the TL. "I know one thing, that I know nothing“ (Socrates)
  10. 10. 1.3. EXPERIENCES Learners who have already developed general knowledge and experience are in a stronger position to develop a new language than those who haven't. For instance, a learner who has been to two/three foreign countries and exposed to different cultures build a stronger ground for learning an extra language than those learners who have not had such an experience.
  11. 11. 1.4. MOTIVATION •Intrinsic motivation shows itself when you want to do something, an internal desire to perform a particular task. People do certain activities because they give them pleasure, develop a certain skill or they are morally the right thing to do. Extrinsic motivation is when somebody else or something tries to make you do something Instransically motivated students are bound to do much better in classroom activities since they are willing and eager to learn. Yet, extrinsically motivated ones may have to be „bribed‟ to perform the same tasks.
  12. 12. 1.5. COGNITION Generally speaking, apparently students with greater cognitive abilities make a faster progress. Some Chamskyan linguists suppose that there is a specific, innate language learning ability which is believed to be stronger in some students than in others.
  13. 13. II. EXTERNAL FACTORS  1. Curriculum  2. Instruction  3. Culture and Status  4. Motivation  5. Access to native speakers
  14. 14. 2.1. CURRICULUM Particularly for the ESL students, it is essential that the totality of thier educational experiences should be suitable to their needs. If learners are entirely submersed into a mainstream program without having any additional assistance, then language learning is less likely to occur.
  15. 15. 2.2. INSTRUCTION Very clearly, if language learners are exposed to appropriate and effective learning experiences in their classrooms, they will make faster progress. Thus, the job of the language teachers should be to provide suitable and effective input though their instuctions.  Interventionist view:  Intervention. An academic intervention is a strategy used to teach a new skill, build fluency in a skill, or encourage a child to apply an existing skill to new situations or settings. An intervention can be thought of as“a set of actions that, when taken, have demonstrated ability to change a fixed educational trajectory” (Methe & Riley- Tillman, 2008; p. 37). As an example of an academic intervention, the teacher may select question generation (Davey & McBride,1986.; Rosenshine, Meister & Chapman, 1996), a strategy in which the student is taught to locate or generate main idea sentences for each paragraph in a passage and record those „gist‟ sentences for later review.  L2 instruction can have an effect on how learners acquire a L2 (Ellis 1991, Long 1983, 1988; Rutherford & Sharwood-Smith 1985)  "L2 instruction is effective in its own right" (Norris & Ortega 2000:480)  "while instruction may not always be necessary to achieve competence in the L2, it undoubtedly helps"(Ellis 2005: 725).  In some contexts, for some learners, for some L2 features, or for some aspects of L2 proficiency, instruction may even be necessary(DeKeyser 2000; Doughty 2003; White 2003)
  16. 16. 2.3. CULTURE&STATUS There is some evidence that students under the condition in which their mother culture has a lower status than the target language’s culture that they are learning will make a slower progress. Social factors can affect motivation, attitudes and language learning success. Children, just like adults, are quite sensitive to social dynamics and power relationships. Imigrant learners are quickly labelled identities such as successful/unsuccessful, talkative/quiet etc...
  17. 17. 2.4. ACCESS TO NATIVE SPEAKERS Since native speakers of the TL can act as linguistic models and since they can provide effective feedback for the TL learners, it is very advantegous to have the opportunity to interact with the native speakers, not only in the classroom setting, but also outside of it. It is obvious that those 2L learners having no extensive access to native speakers of the TL are supposed to make slower progress, especially in the aural/oral aspects of language acqusition.
  18. 18. 3. AFFECTIVE FACTORS Affective factors are emotional factors which influence learning, such as: 1.Self-Esteem 2.Inhibition 3.Risk Taking 4.Anxiety 5.Empathy
  19. 19. 3.1. SELF-ESTEEM Self-esteem refers to a personal evaluation and judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the individual's attitude towards him or herself or his or her capabilities. Low motivation, low self-esteem, and debilitating anxiety can lead to a raise in the affective filter and form a 'mental block' that hinders comprehensible input from being employed for acquisition. (Krashen cited by Schütz, 2007)
  20. 20. 3.2. INHIBITION Inhibition in a person emerges when he/she attempts to defend or protect his/her self-image. If the learner considers the mistakes he/she makes in the second language as a threat to his/her emotional well-being and self perception, then acquisition will not take place or will occur much more slowly.
  21. 21. 3.3. RISK TAKING One of the characteristics that has been found to exist in "good" language learners is the willingness to guess. If the learner is less inhibited, he/she is more willing to take a chance on producing a "correct" utterance in the second language.
  22. 22. 3.4. ANXIETY Anxiety is associated with the feelings of uneasiness, self- doubt, worry or fear that a person feels under certain circumstances. A threatening environment does not promote language acquisition. Factors such as an emphasis on competition between students or forcing students to produce in the second language before they are ready can cause anxiety.
  23. 23. 4.5. EMPATHY Empathy refers to an individual's ability to put him/herself in the other's shoes. When a learner is acquiring a second language, he or she is also acquiring, in a sense, a new personality, and a new culture. It is essential in the language acq. process to open yourself to new cultural experiences and adopt these experiences as your own.
  24. 24. Conclusion Being successful in second language acquisition depends on many factors. Age and motivation factors are among the most important ones. In studies, it has been found that if a learner has a competency in his or her own language, he or she is more advantageous than those who lacks competence in his first language. As to motivation, it has been revealed that motivated students are more successful in second language acquisition than those who are demotivated. Also, the role the psychological aspects play in gaining an extra language cannot be denied.
  25. 25. Asher, J., & Price, B. (1967). The learning strategy of the total physical response: some age differences. Child Development, 1967, 38, 121 Davey, B., & McBride, S. (1986). Effects of question-generation training on reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 7 DeKeyser, R. M. (2000). The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition Doughty, C. J. (2003). Instructed SLA: Constraints, compensation, and enhancement. In C. J. Doughty & M. H. Long (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 256-310). Oxford: Blackwell. Ellis, R. (1991). Second language acquisition and language pedagogy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivation. Retrieved from on 07.11.2013 Long, M. (1983). Does second language instruction make a difference? A review of the research. TESOL Quarterly 17, 359-382. Long, M. (1988). Instructed interlanguage development. In L. Beebe (Ed.), Issues in second language acquisition: Multiple perspectives ( York: Newbury House. Methe, S. A., & Riley-Tillman, T. C. (2008). An informed approach to selecting and designing early mathematics interventions.School Ps Research into Practice, 2, 29-41. McLaughlin, B. (1992). Myths and Misconceptions about Second Language Learning: What Every Teacher Needs to Unlearn on 07.11.2013 Norris, J. M., & Ortega, L. (2000). Effectiveness of L2 instruction: A research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis. Language Learning Rosenshine, B., Meister, C., & Chapman, S. (1996). Teaching students to generate questions: A review of the interventionstudies. Revie Research, 66, 181-221. Ellis, R. (2005). Current Issues in the Teaching of Grammar: An SLA Perspective. R on 11.11.2013 Patkowski, M. (1982). The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language. InKrashen, S., Scarcell, R. and Long, M second language research. London: Newbury House, 52-63. Rutherford, W., & Sharwood-Smith, M. (1985). Consciousness-raising and universal grammar. Applied Linguistics 6, 274-282. Snow, C. E., & Hoefnagel-Hahle, M (1978). Age differences in the pronunciation of foreign sounds. Language and Speech, 1978, in press. White, L. (2003). On the nature of interlanguage representation: Universal grammar in thesecond language. In C. J. Doughty & M. H.