Literature review: Language aptitude

Project management
01.2016 - 12.2019
Cognition, Competences

This research overview focuses on differences between individuals when it comes to results in learning foreign languages in school. The aim is to identify and discuss studies about factors responsible for differences in the potential to learn foreign languages from one individual to the next as well as the various tools designed to evaluate them (MLAT, LLAMA, CANAL-FT, FLCAS etc.). The research overview will be structured around the following themes:

  • General language aptitudes (in L1 and in foreign languages).
  • Cognitive factors/learning abilities unrelated to the language field: IQ, working memory, general learning abilities.
  • Emotional/personality factors related to learning foreign languages at school: attitude/motivation/anxiety/ L2 self.

Theoretical concepts, assessment tools and the results of main empirical studies will be outlined and discussed for each of these themes.

Purpose – Expected results

The literature review will result in an article outlining the outcome of Swiss and international research works which will be made accessible to the scientific community and may be used for future research work. Among other things, it will serve as the theoretical basis for the project “Language aptitude: why and how to assess it?” from the Research Centre on Multilingualism.