The ‘Good Language Learner’: Introverts and Extroverts

Definitions (Oxford Learners Dictionaries)

Introvert (n.) /ˈɪntrəvɜːt/

Definition: A quiet person who is more interested in their own thoughts and feelings than in spending time with other people.

Example: He was described as an introvert, a reserved man who spoke little.

Extrovert (n.) /ˈekstrəvɜːt/

Definition: A lively and confident person who enjoys being with other people.

Example: She’s a real extrovert, she loves to socialise and meet new people.

Do you identify as an introvert or an extrovert? Does it matter?

People often assume that extroverts are better language learners, perhaps they are more willing to show what they know. But actually, both types of people have their strengths when learning a new language.

Understanding the Introvert.

Introverts often thrive in solitary activities and enjoy reflection. Introverts may take time to speak, but often consider their langauge carefully. Introverts often enjoy self-study, and benefit greatly from reading, which is a foundational skill building vocabulary, writing and cultural understanding.

Embracing the Extrovert.

Extroverts tend to find their energy in social situations and thrive in group settings. Collaborative learning and engagement with others (native speakers or other learners) can provide a rich source of language and offer great practice. Extroverts often don’t worry about making mistakes, which in itself is a huge benefit in learning.

Finding balance

A language is a world, no one is barred, there’s room for everyone. It is no ‘better’ to be an extrovert rather than an introvert. How you choose to use a language is up to you. However, if you choose to step outside your comfort zone and challenge your boundaries, you may surprise yourself.