How to measure language learning aptitude?

People today want to learn new languages, whether it is a second language or a foreign language. Nowadays a lot of people are taking courses in foreign languages as a career option and thus, going for foreign language learning. People learn foreign languages for a number of reasons such as travel purposes or for business needs. In all of this, one must know whether one is suitable for learning a language and for that a check must be made of the ability to absorb or aptitude for new languages.

Intellect and foreign language learning are said to be connected. It is said that one can get a degree in a foreign language, but for actual growth brain power is essential. Language aptitude is basically the possession of a knack by an individual to pick up or absorb new foreign or second languages. There are a number of tests which can show how fast you can learn a foreign language. The PLAB and MLAT are well known language aptitude measuring tests which provide sound and reliable results. These tests measure the relevant knack or aptitude by:

  • Checking the coding capacity for phonemics. This is the ability to recall symbols and sounds and linking them.
  • Checking an individual’s sensitivity for grammar
  • Checking the ability to learn language through Inductivity which is the capacity to recognize and analyze patterns and materials for learning languages.
  • Checking the learners pace to absorb new words and corresponding memory for words already learnt.

Foreign languages can be learnt either through habit or as a mechanized process. Learning aptitude and foreign language education share an intimate bond. Language behavior is often used to measure one’s ability in a language or generally for new language absorption. The rate at which words are emitted, speech unit rates and vocal response intensities are all considered. People given a quantum of time can pick up languages, however, it is the ease and pace with which different people learn new languages which determines their aptitude in them. Research shows that similar to other aptitudes, language aptitude is also quite stable across a person’s life. Language aptitude tests, provide in essence the time to teach an individual not factoring in the difference in motivation.

Language aptitude is judged based on grammatical function recognition as well as the ability to infer rules of grammar of new languages. The capacity or rate at which symbol sound associations can be made also plays a role in judgement of language knack. Foreign languages are learnt for a variety of reasons from travelling facilitation to career options as well as business expansion. When deciding upon foreign language as a career option, it is better to take an aptitude test such that one can get a clearer picture of what is in store. However, these aptitude tests are not flawless. Thus, often one may find that a test might say that a particular language is more suited to an individual, however, later on in practice it is a completely different language which becomes easier to handle and perform in. It has often been seen that what is lacking in aptitude can be made up through perseverance.


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