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Individual Differences in SLA How do individuals differ in learning languages? I.e., what are some ways in which people differ that might have an effect.

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Presentation on theme: "Individual Differences in SLA How do individuals differ in learning languages? I.e., what are some ways in which people differ that might have an effect."— Presentation transcript:

1 Individual Differences in SLA How do individuals differ in learning languages? I.e., what are some ways in which people differ that might have an effect on SLA? Four categories of differences: Cognitive Affective Physiological Social 1

2 Individual Differences in SLA: Cognitive Intelligence – IQ tests. What do these tests measure, and what don’t they measure? How many kinds of intelligence are there? Aptitude, the ability to learn quickly. Scholars suggest that language aptitude consists of: phonetic coding ability grammatical sensitivity rote learning ability for foreign language materials inductive language learning ability. DeKeyser, R. (2000). The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. SSLA, 22, 499–533. 2

3 Individual Differences in SLA: Cognitive Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency -- The language ability required for academic achievement; requires longer to develop than Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS). Cummins, J. (1979) Cognitive/academic language proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the optimum age question and some other matters. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 19,

4 Individual Differences in SLA: Cognitive Learning styles – our preferred (natural, habitual, “without thinking”) way of learning. field in / dependence (seeing details as separate v. seeing holistically) reflectivity / impulsivity category width (tendency to categorize items broadly or narrowly) analytical / gestalt aural / visual 4

5 Individual Differences in SLA: Cognitive Learning strategies – the conscious decisions we make about the learning task. metacognitive strategies – advance organizers, self evaluation, etc. cognitive strategies – elaboration, inferencing, and so on. social strategies – scaffolding, cooperation Carson, J., & Longhini, A. (2002). Focusing on learning styles and strategies: A diary study in an immersion setting. Language Learning, 52(2), 401–438. 5

6 Individual Differences in SLA: Affective “Personality” in HLAL = Affective differences, which mean differences related to our feelings or emotions Extroversion / introversion – learners’ assertiveness /adventurousness, or lack of same Inhibition – note Guiora (1972). What is the “instrument” used to measure inhibition? Tolerance for ambiguity Competitiveness Self-esteem Risk taking Sensitivity to rejection Empathy Elkhafaifi, H. (2005). Listening comprehension and anxiety in the Arabic language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 206–220. 6

7 Individual Differences in SLA: Affective “Personality” in HLAL = Affective differences, which mean differences related to our feelings or emotions Anxiety Elkhafaifi, H. (2005). Listening comprehension and anxiety in the Arabic language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 206–220. Motivation Wright, M., & McGrory, O. (2005). Motivation and the adult Irish language learner. Educational Research, 47(2), 191–204. 7

8 Individual Differences in SLA: Physiological Age – the critical period hypothesis DeKeyser, R. (2000). The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 499–533. Hakuta, K., Bialystok, E., & Wiley, E. (2003). Critical evidence: A test of the critical-period hypothesis for second-language acquisition. Psychological Science, 14(1), 31–38. 8

9 Individual Differences in SLA: Physiological Gender Brantmeier, C. (2003). Does gender make a difference? Passage content and comprehension in second language reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 15(1), 1–27. 9

10 Individual Differences in SLA: Social “Identity and ethnic group affiliation” – “social dynamic or power relationship between languages [and the people associated with them]” (HLAL, p. 65). To this, add “socialization”: adjustments required of learners as they acquire languages situated differently relative to those social and power relationships. Lam, W.S.E. (2004). Second language socialization in a bilingual chat room: Global and local considerations. Language Learning and Technology, 8(3), 44–65. 10

11 Individual Differences in SLA: Group Presentations Five or six people per group on: 1.Age – Hakuta, K., Bialystok, E., & Wiley, E. (2003). 2.Gender – Brantmeier, C. (2003). 3.Anxiety – Elkhafaifi, H. (2005). 4.Motivation – Wright, M., & McGrory, O. (2005). 5.Styles and Strategies – Carson, J., & Longhini, A. (2002). 6.Socialization – Lam, W.S.E. (2004). What is the research paradigm and method in the study? 11


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