Language aptitude

Authored by: Peter Skehan

The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415479936
eBook ISBN: 9780203808184
Adobe ISBN: 9781136666896


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This chapter reviews a wide range of issues in language aptitude. After a contextualizing, historical introduction, sections then cover the role of context in aptitude functioning; the relationship of aptitude and dyslexia; and the wider analysis of memory that is now relevant for aptitude. Then some contemporary aptitude debates are explored, comprising the relevance of aptitude to second language acquisition (SLA), the importance of aptitude in understanding critical period effects, and proposals which have been made for aptitude complexes. A brief survey is provided of developments in aptitude measurement, as well as a discussion of the pedagogic implications of aptitude work. This leads to a conclusion which assesses current perceptions of the nature and relevance of aptitude, and outlines challenges for the future.

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