What is it about?
This paper explains how young bilingual Catalan/Spanish learners took the MLAT-E (a language aptitude test for young learners) either in Catalan or Spanish. The results show that their performance was not affected by their L1 of preference (either Catalan, Spanish or either of the two). Instead, it was affected by their age, and therefore, their cognitive development stage, instead, as well as the type of formal education they had received when taking the test. This article also shows that these bilingual participants outperformed the mainly monolingual pool that took the MLAT-E in the norming study. This means that bilinguals might benefit from their bilingual status when it comes to aptitude (and subsequent foreign language learning).
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Why is it important?
This paper shows that one of the main criticisms that traditional language aptitude tests have received, that is, that they are language dependent, is not so relevant, at least not for this young population. Instead, it is formal education and age what might affect their performance. It also confirms that bilinguals are at an advantage as compared to monolinguals regarding language aptitude. However, we cannot tell whether it is aptitude that benefits from bilingualism or vice versa.
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This page is a summary of: Young learners’ bilingual status and cognitive development in foreign language aptitude testing, ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics, April 2023, John Benjamins,
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