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The Influence of Level of Extroversion, Locus of Control and Gender on Listening and Reading Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition


Magdalena Trinder

This book is an investigation into the correlation between level of extroversion, orientation of locus of control and gender. Level of extroversion and gender are widely recognised as key factors influencing the process of Second Language Acquisition, although there remains much debate as to the nature of this influence. Locus of Control has equally been identified as a key predictor of success in academic learning. Taking these points into consideration, the authors analyze the correlation between these three key factors and success in reading and listening on students of English at the university level. The investigation includes both a quantitative analysis and qualitative explanatory interviews.

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The father of modern linguistic thought, Renes Descartes (1960:42), made one of the most poignant observations on the nature of language when he stated that ‘[F]or it is a very remarkable thing that there are no men, not even the insane, so dull and stupid that they cannot put words together in a manner to convey their thoughts.’ The implication here is obvious: that every human has the capacity to use language. It is therefore a matter of considerable curiosity that, while we can all speak one language perfectly, many people singularly fail in the task of mastering a second language. The failings of students to master many academic disciplines might be explained away by lack of ability or predisposition as we have no proof of the existence (or lack thereof) of a default ability for mathematics, physics or geography; but we do have proof that everybody can communicate, so by logical extension everybody should be able to learn a second language. This educational mystery is the inspiration for the following work, the desire to investigate the reasons why some people are more successful than others in their efforts to gain mastery over another language.

Within the linguistic sub-discipline of Second Language Acquisition, the study of individual learner differences has taken centre stage as researchers strive to find a comprehensive explanation as to why learners have differing levels of success despite apparently similar learning conditions. This search has taken us in a wide variety...

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