14 Essential Characteristics of a Good Language Learner

Published on November 19, 2020 | Updated on March 25, 2024

English-language learners are students who are unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English, who often come from non-English-speaking homes and backgrounds,

Do you have what it takes to study and learn a language successfully? What are some characteristics of a good language learner? What do teachers see in successful language learners?

15 Essential Characteristics of a Good Language Learner

These are 14 essential characteristics that good language learners should have

Take responsibility

Good language learners find their own way and take charge of their learning. They find the methods that are best for them as individual learners. They learn form others and experiment with different methods.

Be Organized

Good language learners organize their study of the language, and they organize information about the language they study.

Be Creative

Good language learners are creative. They understand that language is creative. They experiment with the language and play with grammar, words, and sounds.

Create Opportunities

Good language learners make their own opportunities for practicing the language inside and outside of the classroom.

You can do things like watching a movie in English or learning the lyrics of your favorite song.

Be Patient

Good language learners learn to live with uncertainty by focusing on the meaning of what they can understand, by not getting flustered, and by continuing to talk or listen without necessarily understanding every word.

Find Strategies

Good language learners use mnemonics and other memory strategies to recall what they are learning.

Make Mistakes

Good language learners make errors work for them and not against them. You learn a second language by trial and error

Remember your Roots

Good language learners use linguistic knowledge, including knowledge of their first language, in learning a second language.

Understand that learning a language is a logical process.

Use Context

Good language learners use contextual clues to aid their comprehension of the language. They maximize use of all potential contexts around the language attended to for enhancing comprehension.

Guess Intelligently

Good language learners learn to make intelligent guesses.

Don’t Worry about Every Detail

Good language learners learn chunks of language as wholes and formalized routines to help them perform beyond their competence. For example, they may learn idioms, proverbs, or other phrases knowing what the whole phrase means without necessarily understanding each individual part.

Use Hacks and Tricks

Good language learners learn certain tricks that keep conversations going.

Use Production Techniques

Good language learners learn certain production techniques that also fill in the gaps in their own competence.

Learn Different Styles

Good language learners learn different styles of speech or writing to learn to vary their language according to the formality of the situation.

Motivation to Communicate

One of the most important characteristics of a good language learner is finding a motivation to communicate will make a huge difference in your learning efforts, as I reflect on my own experience, I can avoid thinking about how important it was for me to talk to my friends from the United States.

Manuel Campos

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English