Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 12
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hofer, Barbara and Jessner, Ulrike 2019. Multilingualism at the primary level in South Tyrol: how does multilingual education affect young learners’ metalinguistic awareness and proficiency in L1, L2 and L3?. The Language Learning Journal, Vol. 47, Issue. 1, p. 76.

    Rogers, Vivienne Meara, Paul Barnett-Legh, Thomas Curry, Clare and Davie, Emma 2017. Examining the LLAMA aptitude tests. Journal of the European Second Language Association, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 49.

    Alfian, Language Learning Strategy use by P Wyra, Mirella and Rossetto, Marietta 2016. Publishing Higher Degree Research. p. 95.

    Pfenninger, Simone E. 2016. The literacy factor in the optimal age discussion: a five-year longitudinal study. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Vol. 19, Issue. 3, p. 217.

    Rogers, Vivienne E. Meara, Paul Aspinall, Rachel Fallon, Louise Goss, Thomas Keey, Emily and Thomas, Rosa 2016. Testing aptitude. EUROSLA Yearbook, Vol. 16, Issue. , p. 179.

    Hanulíková, Adriana Dediu, Dan Fang, Zhou Bašnaková, Jana and Huettig, Falk 2012. Individual Differences in the Acquisition of a Complex L2 Phonology: A Training Study. Language Learning, Vol. 62, Issue. , p. 79.

    Andersson, Ulf 2010. The contribution of working memory capacity to foreign language comprehension in children. Memory, Vol. 18, Issue. 4, p. 458.

    Hauptman, Sara Mansur, Fuaz and Tal, Rachel 2008. A Trilingual Teaching Model for Developing Academic Literacy Skills in Classical Arabic (L1), Hebrew (L2) and English (FL) in Southern Israel. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 29, Issue. 3, p. 181.

    Sasaki, Miyuki 1993. Relationships Among Second Language Proficiency, Foreign Language Aptitude, and Intelligence: A Protocol Analysis. Language Learning, Vol. 43, Issue. 4, p. 469.

    Geva, Esther and Ryan, Ellen B. 1993. Linguistic and Cognitive Correlates of Academic Skills in First and Second Languages. Language Learning, Vol. 43, Issue. 1, p. 5.

    Gardner, R. C. and MacIntyre, P. D. 1992. A student's contributions to second language learning. Part I: Cognitive variables. Language Teaching, Vol. 25, Issue. 04, p. 211.

    Skehan, Peter 1991. Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Vol. 13, Issue. 02, p. 275.

  • Print publication year: 1990
  • Online publication date: October 2012

Chapter 12 - The relationship between first and second languages: language proficiency and language aptitude


The focus in the social context and age section of the DBP report (Volume HI of Harley, Allen, Cummins, and Swain 1987), is on the relationship between individual and social-environmental factors and the development of bilingual proficiency. The report is rich and stimulating. The findings are of considerable interest to researchers, and even the questions raised by the report move the field forward. There is a great deal to discuss, but I would like to restrict my remarks to the topics of language proficiency and language aptitude. Language aptitude receives little explicit attention in the report, but I will argue that it is a factor of considerable importance in understanding the relationship between first and second language proficiency.

Individual differences in language

learning I would like to begin by making some comments on current theory and individual differences in language learning. Then I will turn to some research on individual differences, before addressing the question of language aptitude generally.

Current theory and individual differences

universal grammar theory

As I read the Zeitgeist in first and second language research, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the Chomsky an notion of an independent language-learning faculty. Advocates of a Universal Grammar approach to language learning (e.g., White 1985b, 1987a) maintain that, in addition to relatively close-to-surface levels of syntactic representation, there are more abstract levels of representation which children learning a first language cannot induce simply from the data presented to them in adult speech.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Development of Second Language Proficiency
  • Online ISBN: 9781139524568
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *