Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Language aptitude tests

  Tags: Placement Test
 Language Learning Forum : Immersion, Schools & Certificates Post Reply
10 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 859 days ago

61 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 1 of 10
21 August 2015 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
Is anyone on the forum aware of language aptitude tests and there overall accuracy at determining an
individual's ability to grasp a foreign tongue?
I have taken one before in 2010 that was conducted in a constructed language that I had never heard
before. I am not going to disclose what I scored until I find out the actual value of this test.
It was done in the military and was to initiate training in Middle Eastern tongues.
Surely everyone that can speak has an aptitude for learning language though?



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 1516 days ago

446 posts - 599 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 2 of 10
21 August 2015 at 2:35pm | IP Logged 
I took a Language Aptitude Test many years ago whilst serving in the RCN in Halifax, N.S. Although I had not requested language training, the objective was to predict my potential for learning a foreign language, should I be posted to Europe or elsewhere. Interestingly, the test language was Kurdish. The test results placed me fairly high on a percentile basis, but nothing ever came of the matter. As far as I understand, the DLI assesses candidates language aptitude before accepting them into their language-training programmes.

As to the usefulness of pre-training aptitude testing, whether for language courses, or any other type of instruction, it is quite understandable that an institution that pays for the student's schooling would want to ensure the highest number of graduates from their programme; hence the testing.

As to aptitudes, we all have greater or lesser natural aptitudes, affinities, or potentials for numerous activities and this includes the aptitude for language learning. However, individual aptitudes can vary widely and, in any event, if they are not developed a critical stage, the true potential may never be realised. For instance, there have been many recorded cases where children, who have been deprived of learning any language at all in their early years, will have extreme difficulty learning even what-should-have-been their "mother tongue" later in life and that they may very well never master any language at all.

I recall that, many years ago, a series of introductory self-study language-learning books published by Berlitz began with a statement that was meant to reassure the novice language-learner. I am working from memory and could easily have the specifics wrong, however, there is one phrase that sticks in my mind: "So, you want to learn a foreign language, it's easy, even a moron speaks one"! One can appreciate why subsequent editions of these books, that are still published by the way, no longer contain the "reassuring statement". The notion of political correctness -- or taboos -- existed at the time, as it always has, but the parameters have evolved. In any event, the (now) statement includes the "unstated assumption" that even those with a lower-than-average aptitude for learning their mother-tongue must be exposed to it at a critical stage in their development.



Edited by Speakeasy on 21 August 2015 at 2:50pm

1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4167 days ago

9083 posts - 7730 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 3 of 10
21 August 2015 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
I have read about aptitude tests and seen some examples some time ago, and it struck me that they focused on the ability to make inferences about meaning based on combinatorical arguments - like: if XYZ means goble di gobble and XYQ means gobble di pyy, then Q means pyy. And I suppose that's very important if you study totally incomprehensible languages in the field among the savages where you don't have dictionaries or grammars around. I didn't see aptitude tests which tested the ability to use dictionaries creatively, but with a suitable degree of basic mistrust. Or the ability to forget about the general meaning while you study the grammatical structure and vice-versa (maybe mostly vice-versa). Or the ability to formulate operational, simple rules in your mind while kicking out counter examples until you are ready to tackle them. Or the ability to find a couple of hours every day for your studies... Language learning can't be reduced to pattern recognition.

Edited by Iversen on 21 August 2015 at 11:15pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 1516 days ago

446 posts - 599 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 4 of 10
21 August 2015 at 3:10pm | IP Logged 
Hello Iversen,

Yes, I recall that the Language Aptitude Test that I sat for -- ahem, some 40 years ago -- "focused on the ability to make inferences about meaning based on combinatorical arguments - like: if XYZ means gobble di gobble and XYQ means gobble di pyy, then Q means pyy."

I was told that Kurdish had been chosen as the test language as it was, at the time, highly unlikely that a native-English-speaker would have been exposed to the language, but that the test subject's ability to infer meaning from Kurdish was a good predictor of his aptitude for learning foreign languages.

No testing procedure is ever going to be perfect; however, the idea of aptitude testing was to categorize the potential candidates into "relative" groups of learners. It is highly likely that a candidate who scored, relatively speaking, very low on the scale, would still be able to learn a foreign language, particularly if he was highly motivated and he was accorded the time, the materials, the teaching method, etcetera, to meet his needs. The objective of the RCN's aptitude testing was merely "to hedge their bets" on the likely success of candidates entering their language-training programmes, it was not a generalized statement on what it takes to learn a language.
1 person has voted this message useful



Brun Ugle
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
brunugle.wordpress.c
Joined 4084 days ago

1292 posts - 473 votes 
Speaks: English*, NorwegianC1
Studies: Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, Finnish

 
 Message 5 of 10
21 August 2015 at 3:10pm | IP Logged 
"The ability to find a couple of hours every day for study" = the most important aptitude of all.
2 persons have voted this message useful



ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 859 days ago

61 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 6 of 10
21 August 2015 at 3:15pm | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:
I took a Language Aptitude Test many years ago whilst serving in the RCN in
Halifax, N.S. Although I had not requested language training, the objective was to predict my potential[/
B] for learning a foreign language, should I be posted to Europe or elsewhere. Interestingly, the test
language was Kurdish. The test results placed me fairly high on a percentile basis, but nothing ever came
of the matter. As far as I understand, the DLI assesses candidates language aptitude before accepting
them into their language-training programmes.

As to the usefulness of pre-training aptitude testing, whether for language courses, or any other type
of instruction, it is quite understandable that an institution that pays for the student's schooling would
want to ensure the highest number of graduates from their programme; hence the testing.

As to aptitudes, we all have greater or lesser natural aptitudes, affinities, or potentials for numerous
activities and this includes the aptitude for language learning. However, individual aptitudes can vary
widely and, in any event, if they are not developed a critical stage, the true potential may never be realised.
For instance, there have been many recorded cases where children, who have been deprived of
learning any language at all in their early years, will have extreme difficulty learning even what-
should-have-been their "mother tongue" later in life and that they may very well never master any language
at all.

I recall that, many years ago, a series of introductory self-study language-learning books published by
Berlitz began with a statement that was meant to reassure the novice language-learner. I am
working from memory and could easily have the specifics wrong, however, there is one phrase that
sticks in my mind: "So, you want to learn a foreign language, it's easy, even a moron speaks one"!
One can appreciate why subsequent editions of these books, that are still published by the way, no longer
contain the "reassuring statement". The notion of political correctness -- or taboos -- existed at the time, as
it always has, but the parameters have evolved. In any event, the (now) statement includes the "unstated
assumption" that even those with a lower-than-average aptitude for learning their mother-tongue must be
exposed to it at a critical stage in their development.



Come to think of it, part of the test I did was in Kurdish but not all of it. I remember working out number
sequences with the numbers "mül" "rüd" and "imp" or something to that effect. The Kurdish part was a
vocab exercise I believe where we were given a list of words and had to recall them without looking. At the
time I was very confused with the logic of the test and failed to see how it would gage my capacity to
learm a language. Anyone can remember vocab I think. Mastering grammar is another story and I don't
recall any grammar exercises being involved. In the end I scored 95 percentile and was strongly
recommended for the training but to me it seemed like only a working memory test that held no true value.
1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 1516 days ago

446 posts - 599 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 7 of 10
21 August 2015 at 3:30pm | IP Logged 
@ExRN

My goodness, you're right! It must have been the same test ... and you beat me by 1 percentile point.

Ciao for now!



ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 859 days ago

61 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 8 of 10
21 August 2015 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
It did nothing to further my career but the university I'm going to looked very favorably on it. Hence why I
asked for clarification on its actual value. It seems a twenty minute test that is only for memory is all you
need these days :-O



This discussion contains 10 messages over 2 pages: 2  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 2.6875 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2017 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.