Learning second language is complicated. There are many variables that may influence the process, the teacher, the media, the method and also the personality factor of learner.
There are some aspects of personality that may affect the second language acquisition (SLA) process, let’s talk it.
You can infer the self-esteem as giving value to your self. Some of learners may give high value to themselves, so that they have strong self confidence and it will affect their SLA process; some of others give low value to themselves, and it makes them lack of self confidence; and some the others give value with indifference for themselves, then they will think that their self is justso-so.
In every process, there must be, at least, an inhibition. In SLA process, one of the inhibitions is what we call “language ego”. Language ego in simple meaning is inferred as “like so much to your language till then you won’t use another language”.
Some of Ulama Salaf (the literal Islamic scholar) think that English language is the language of kafirun (infidel) till they never learn English language. This language ego will inhibit the SLA process.
When you have to choose a very good, interesting and useful choice that has not any high risk and if you choose it your life will be better, I am sure you will choose it directly, without any thought. However, when you have the choice above with high or very high risk, I am sure that you will think and analyze before taking it. Then here, you will have another kind of choices: will you brave to take risk and you will get your life better? Or you will leave it and let your life without any better change because you are afraid to take the risk? Here, your bravo to take risk will affect your life.
Also in SLA, students’ bravo in taking risk will affect their SLA process. Some of students have anxiety when they are learning the second language, some of them may be afraid to practice their English with their friends, because they worry to make mistake. This will inhibit the SLA process. However, some students very brave to practice their English, they do not worry weather their English is “ok” or not; weather people will mock him because the poorness of their English or not. This personality will support the SLA process.
Although we know what anxiety is, but it is difficult to define it. According to Scovel (1978, p.134) anxiety relates to gaucherie, hopeless, self hesitancy, fear, or afraid.
There are three component of anxiety in foreign language.
- Communication anxiety, appear because the learners are incapable of exploring equally the thought and ideas.
- Negative social valuation, appear because the need of learners to give positive impression to public society.
In short and simple definition, empathy is we try to know and understand what other people are feeling, or in a more beautiful sentence Brown said “we try to put our feet into other people shoes”.
Sometimes we miss understand about what other people said, because we don not know who and how he is. Knowing the feeling of the others will help us in understanding the real message he want to convey.
Extroversion and its antonym introversion have various definitions. Some of expert define that extroversion as the people that prefer to show up themselves, and introversion is the people that more calm. However, according to Brown (2007) they are not like that. Extroversion is the how far people have need to be considered by other people. In other hand, introversion is how far people get impression without need other people.
Extroversion may affect the SLA. Many lecturer claim that Extroversion learner has better speaking than introversion learner. But, the introversion learner has more empathy.
So, these personalities must be thought by the instructor of SLA.
(a lecture note taken from discussion event using Brown Book, The Principles of Language Teaching and Learning)