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Title: Cognitive development, aptitude and language learning in Greek young learners
Author: Alexiou, T.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
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Recent studies support the idea that there is a link between the general cognitive skills learners possess and their success in learning their second language. They can suggest, therefore, which separates elements of cognitive ability may be part of language learning aptitude in children. A series of research studies concerning the relation between general cognitive skills and second language success has been conducted during the past three years. The studies are carried out in Greek schools and involve young learners of 5-9 years. The results suggest that tests of general cognitive skills such as memory and analytic ability are very good predictors of foreign language learning success. In this, aptitude in young learners appears to be very similar to aptitude in adults. These cognitive skills appear to improve with age so it can be argued that in certain ways older learners are actually better language learners than children. Yet, the question of a 'window of opportunity' and the age effect still remains open. As other researchers have supported comprehensible and continuous exposure, appropriate methodology and trained teachers are more promising than the onset time. The study offers convincing evidence that the nature of language learning aptitude might not be fixed at least at that age and there is a possibility that at that stage it might actually be plastic. This does not mean that one could instruct everyone to be equally good at learning languages using the cognitive skills suggested here. It does imply, however, that practice and improvement on certain abilities that relate to language may well facilitate effective learning at least to some extent. A test of cognitive skills that appear to relate a foreign language learning is devised at the end that could hopefully offer a valuable source for a child’s learning profile at the very beginning of learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available