individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude pdf

Individual Differences And Universals In Language Learning Aptitude Pdf

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In the past, second language L2 aptitude research was conducted largely to better the placement and selection processes utilized by governmental language programs.

Individual Differences & Universals In Language Learning Aptitude

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Individual differences & universals in language learning aptitude

Second language L2 students and educators are acutely aware of differences between students in terms of their success in acquiring an L2. Some pick up the language with little effort in little time whilst others struggle despite concerted efforts — and these large differences can be observed within a single classroom where one may expect students to progress at a similar speed, particularly when the classroom provides the majority of exposure to the language. These observed differences between students in the speed or rate with which they learn an L2 are discussed in the field of Second Language Acquisition SLA in terms of learner individual differences. The differences that have received the most attention are age; language learning aptitude; and affective factors, particularly motivation. The present paper will concentrate on the role of aptitude in instructed L2 acquisition L2A.

Fifty-four students were tested at specific time intervals over 10 years to determine best native language NL predictors of oral and written foreign language FL proficiency and FL aptitude. All participants completed two years of Spanish, French, or German. Each was administered measures of NL literacy, oral language, and cognitive ability in elementary school. A measure of FL aptitude was administered at the beginning of ninth grade and FL proficiency was evaluated at the end of the 10th grade. Among the variables, NL literacy measures were the best predictors of FL proficiency, and NL achievement and general verbal intelligence were strong predictors of FL aptitude. Results suggest that indices of NL literacy as early as first grade are related to FL proficiency and FL aptitude nine and 10 years later. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

The variables of most interest in a given setting are the ones that are most clearly related to learning outcomes in that particular context. Hence, if all learners in a group are about the same age, or equally motivated to learn, individual differences in those variables tend to be small and inconsequential for learning outcomes. On the other hand, where differences in a variable are considerable, that variable may potentially explain important differences in language achievement. Foreign language aptitude and first-language L1 typological proximity to the L2 to be learned are examples of variables whose impact on language acquisition has been shown to be considerable, but in distinctly separate research traditions Li, ; Odlin, However, research on language aptitude has mostly relied on participant samples sharing the same L1, not permitting analysis of interactions between language background and aptitude. Similarly, research on crosslinguistic influence CLI on L2 learning has rarely taken language aptitude into consideration, because the predominant focus has been on differences in linguistic structures.

Individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude. Karl C. Diller (Ed.). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House Publishers,

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Individual variation in second-language acquisition is the study of why some people learn a second language better than others. Unlike children who acquire a language , adults learning a second language rarely reach the same level of competence as native speakers of that language. Some may stop studying a language before they have fully internalized it, and others may stop improving despite living in a foreign country for many years.

Native language predictors of foreign language proficiency and foreign language aptitude

If you would like to learn more about language learning aptitude, and the part it plays in the second language testing and teaching community today, you may find the following articles and publications helpful. American Educational Research Association. Research Points, 4 1. Carroll, J. Twenty-five years of research on foreign language aptitude.

Experience tells us that some people learn a second or foreign language with greater ease, more quickly, or with apparently better results than others. Research into FLA first became established during the late s and early s Spolsky The most influential achievement in this period was the Modern Language Aptitude Test MLAT Carroll and Sapon , with variants developed for specifically targeted groups such as younger learners and military personnel. From the s onwards, however, enthusiasm for the concept of FLA and aptitude testing began to fade, influenced in part by developments in mainstream educational psychology Williams and Burden Both approaches, therefore, emphasize the importance of skills and skills development as part of FLA.

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Language aptitude: Desirable trait or acquirable attribute?

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Individual Differences & Universals in Language Learning Aptitude


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