The impact of language aptitude, working memory and verbal reasoning as aspects of linguistic intelligence on language learning achievement
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The present study addresses some cognitive aspects of individual differences that influence foreign language learning. The research attempts to investigate the relationship between one type of intelligence that is referred to as linguistic intelligence and language learning achievement. Since linguistic intelligence is just a theoretical concept, we felt the need to look for a set of cognitive abilities as its constituent factors. Language aptitude, working memory, and verbal reasoning were, thus, elected to be the main factors of linguistic intelligence and the major components of the test intended for that broad ability. Three measures of the three aforementioned capacities (working memory measure, language aptitude measure, and verbal reasoning measure) were, in effect, administered to a sample of seventy subjects from a population of 300 first-year students at the department of Letters and English, University Des Frères Mentouri, Constantine. Correlations were made between the obtained scores in these measures, and factor analysis was conducted to determine the final factors of Linguistic intelligence. The results confirm the existence of three factors, albeit with a precision in the designation of the hypothesized abilities. Grammatical ability is substituted for language aptitude, while working memory and verbal reasoning remain intact. On the basis of these findings, a further correlational study was conducted between the overall Linguistic intelligence score, as with the score of its final factors, and language learning achievement score. Again, the results prove a significant relationship between the overall Linguistic intelligence and language learning achievement. As for the relationship between this latter and the final factors of Linguistic intelligence, two factors reveal a significant moderate correlation (grammatical ability and verbal reasoning), while the third factor (working memory) indicate a weak association. The study would, hence, encourage the implementation of Linguistic intelligence test as the basis for selection in learning English as a foreign language.