Language aptitude: why and how to assess it?
The potential to learn foreign languages varies from one individual to the next and has been investigated by many researchers as of the early 1950s. Individuals’ ability to learn foreign languages relies on various elements that have been identified and grouped under the term language aptitude (ability to retrieve, identify and memorise sound sequences belonging to foreign languages, ability to identify meaningful common features etc.). Another area of the research focuses on emotional/personality factors that may influence the acquisition of skills (e.g. motivation, anxiety, identity etc.) as well as on the effects of self- and hetero-perception towards language skills.
For this project, we rely on theoretical and empirical accounts of individual potential for learning foreign languages in a predictive approach. We answer the following research questions: Which factors can explain and forecast the differences in individuals’ capacity to learn foreign languages? Are these due to:
- Learning abilities in general;
- Language-specific abilities;
- Factors related to motivation/anxiety/personality etc.?