Term Paper: Learning a Second Language Psychological

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[. . .] 2. Personality Types: Personality type is also an important dimension for learning the second language. Experts (Ehrman and Oxford, 1990) have found a strong relationship between the type of personality and the ability to learn L2 language. Personality types can be divided into different categories: intuitive random vs. sensing sequential personality, extravert vs. introvert personality, feeling vs. thinking personality and open vs. closure/judging personality.

3. Desired degree of generality: This dimension distinguishes between the learners who focus on the main idea with the learner who emphasizes on the details. Holistic learners also known as global learners are those who have interest in the communicative activities and social events in which they can focus on the main idea and ignore the grammar details. Analytical learners in contrast pay attention to the grammatical minutiae and try to avoid activities in which they are required to communicate and interact. These both types of learners need to take lesson from each other's behavior because learning second language requires a balance between the being general and specific.

4. Biological Differences: The different styles of learning second language can be linked to the Biological factors like sustenance, location and biorhythms.

Sustenance: The need to have food or drink during the learning period. Many learners cannot learn until they have a candy bar with them while some lose attention if they eat or drink during learning.

Location: The nature of environment consisting of light, temperature, sitting arrangement makes up the location of the learner. Students for second language differ in the sense that they are comfortable with different locations.

Biorhythms: These are that times of the day in which student is active, he feels good, learns well and gives his best performance.

Learning Strategies

According to Scarcella and Oxford (1992, p.63), learning strategies can be defined as "specific actions, behaviors, steps, or techniques such as seeking out conversation partners, or giving oneself encouragement to tackle a difficult language task that are used by students to enhance their own learning."

These strategies become a very useful tool for learning the second language when the learner selects those strategies that suits his learning abilities. These can be divided into different groups; affective, social, cognitive, meta-cognitive and memory related.

Six Categories of Learning Second Language Strategies

Oxford (1990) identified following six major groups of learning second language strategies:

1. Cognitive Strategies: These strategies allow the learner to use the language material through the direct methods that include doing analysis, giving reasons, making summary, outlining the important information to make strong points etc.

2. Meta-cognitive Strategies: These strategies help in managing the overall learning process. For instance; to identify learning needs, to gather material, to arrange the study plan and evaluate success. These strategies positively effect on the cognitive strategy used for learning second language.

3. Memory-Related Strategies: These strategies allow learners to link the different second language concepts with each other. For example, creating learning techniques with the help of sounds or body movements. These strategies help in learning second language through memorizing large number of characters.

4. Compensatory Strategies: These are also known as communication strategies that help language learner to find out the missing word or knowledge by guessing from the context. Oxford and Ehrman (1995) pointed out that compensatory strategies play an important role in getting proficiency in the second language.

5. Affective Strategies: These strategies that include identifying the anxiety and mood, expressing the feelings, giving rewards etc., are proved to be very much related in increasing the L2 proficiency.

6. Social Strategies: These strategies include doing social interaction with the people around the learner and exploring the social norms. These are helpful in learning second language because these assist student to learn language as well as understand the culture.


This paper discussed in detail the different psychological aspects that play a significant role in learning a second language. These included age, aptitude, motivation, anxiety, learning styles and learning strategies. It can be concluded from This paper that psychological dimensions have different roles and effects on the students seeking to learn second language. Moreover, correct learning styles and strategies can play a critical role in helping the second language learners and making their task easier.


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