The concept of language aptitude refers to the specific abilities that allow us to adequately predict or explain why some people can learn a foreign/second language more efficiently and effectively than their peers. Since its inception in the 1950s and 60s, language aptitude research has undergone both popular and marginalized periods in the past six decades. This seminar aims to provide the audience with a critical review and analysis of major language aptitude models and test batteries. It will begin with the classic model of John Carroll, to be followed by some innovative cognitive aptitude models and test batteries proposed by scholars from multiple disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, and SLA. Towards the end, I will tease out the remaining challenges and highlight future directions to further advance language aptitude theory construction, test development, and pedagogical applications.
WEN Zhisheng (Edward) is currently an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macao Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Wen has over 20 years of teaching experience at universities and his research interests include second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and task-based language teaching & learning. His current research foci are language aptitude and working memory from an interdisciplinary perspective. He has published extensively in top-notched journals and volumes. His research monograph Working memory and second language learning was published by Multilingual Matters (2016) and reprinted by FLTRP in 2018 (Beijing). Dr. Wen is the leading editor of Working memory in second language acquisition and processing (Multilingual Matters, 2015), Language aptitude (Routledge, 2019), and Researching L2 task performance and pedagogy (John Benjamins, 2019). His forthcoming books include “Cognitive individual differences in second language acquisition” (de Gruyter Mouton) and “Cambridge handbook of working memory and language” (Cambridge University Press).