Edited by Gisela Granena, Daniel O. Jackson and Yucel Yilmaz
[Bilingual Processing and Acquisition 3] 2016
► pp. 17–40
Foreign language aptitude, acquisitional sequences, and psycholinguistic processes
This chapter has two broad aims: to relate aptitude tests and recent aptitude research, including that reported in this volume, to proposed second language acquisition stages; and to relate aptitude testing to the contrasts between domain-generality and domain-specificity, on the one hand, and explicit and implicit processes, on the other. Regarding SLA stages, a broad distinction is made between stages concerned with developing knowledge and those concerned with developing control. It is argued that aptitude tests have concentrated on the first and that there is scope to develop more aptitude tests to assess the second. Regarding the two major contrasts, it is argued that analysing aptitude tests in these terms is useful as a means of indicating what underlying theories they have. In that respect it is interesting that the most recent major battery (HiLAB: domain-general, often implicit) contrasts with older batteries (e.g. MLAT: domain specific, explicit). It is argued that aptitude tests, viewed in this way, can make theoretical contributions to second language acquisition more generally in characterising what language learning abilities consist of.
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