• Jelena PRTLJAGA Preschool Teacher Training College Vrsac
  • Tanja NEDIMOVIĆ Preschool Teacher Training College Vrsac
  • Aleksandra GOJKOV RAJIĆ Preschool Teacher Training College Vrsac


There are numerous factors affecting foreign language learning, involving both extrinsic (environment and context) and intrinsic (learner-specific) features. Learner characteristics in applied linguistics have traditionally been investigated within the context of individual differences. Even though people differ from each other in respect of a vast number of traits, four factors have received special attention in second language (L2) research: motivation, language aptitude, learning styles, and learning strategies. Broadly speaking, motivation was seen to concern the affective characteristics of the learner, referring to the direction and magnitude of learning behaviour in terms of the learner’s choice, intensity, and duration of learning. Language aptitude determines the cognitive dimension, referring to the capacity and quality of learning. Cognitive potential, i.e. maturity of an individual is described in literature as a significant factor of foreign language learning. It is considered that higher level of cognitive development could be a precondition for easier and more efficient foreign language learning. Learning styles refer to the manner of learning, and learning strategies are somewhere in between motivation and learning styles by referring to the learner’s proactiveness in selecting specific made-to-measure learning routes. Furthermore, the four factors seem to significantly interact with learning setting and general context. In other words, most researchers dealing with individual differences would now agree that the role of learner characteristics can only be evaluated with regard to their interaction with specific environmental and temporal factors or conditions. Having in mind the complexity of foreign language learning context, the paper considers learner – specific features, outlining dynamic systems approach and paying special attention to the interplay among language, agent (learner specific features), and environment in the language acquisition process.


Beckner, C., R. A. Blythe, J. L. Bybee, M. H. Christiansen, W. Croft, N. C. Ellis, J. Holland, J. K. D. Larsen - Freeman and T. Schoenemann (2009). Language is a complex adaptive system. In: Language Learning 59 (Suppl. 1): 1-26.

De Bot, K. Lowie, W. and Verspoor, M. (2007). A Dynamic Systems Theory approach to second language acquisition. In Bilingualism: Langauge and Cognition 10 (1): 7-21.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). Individual Differences: Interplay of Learner Characteristics and Learning Environment. In: Language Learning 59 (Suppl. 1): 230-248.

Ellis, N. C. and Cadierno, T. (2009). Construing a Second Language. In Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics 7: 111-139

Gojkov, G. (1995). Kognitivni stil u didaktici, VVŠ, Vršac.

Olport, G. (1969). Sklop i razvoj liÄnosti, Kultura, Beograd.

Pilipović, V. (2008). Kognitivna zrelost kao faktor usvajanja gramatiÄke strukture stranog jezika. PedagoÅ¡ka stvarnost, 54(5-6), 525-533.

Radoman, V. J. (2001). Jedan prilog prouÄavanju i proÅ¡irivanju predmeta prouÄavanja psihologije jezika i psihologije jeziÄkih poremećaja. In Psihologija, 34(3-4): 375-382.