Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol 3, No 4 (2012), 639-646, Jul 2012

Individual Learner Differences and Second Language Acquisition: A Review

Shahila Zafar, K. Meenakshi


The level of second language acquisition depends on many factors controlled by nature or shaped by nurture. The present paper studies the role of individual learner differences in second language acquisition (SLA). The individual differences, viz., age, sex, aptitude, motivation, cognitive style, learning strategies, and personality are defined and classified. A detailed review of the studies conducted in relation to the seven individual differences follows. The paper concludes by emphasizing that a language teacher must recognize the individual differences in his/ her students in order to impart effective language learning.


second language acquisition; individual learner difference; personality; age; sex; aptitude; motivation; cognitive style; learning strategies


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