More on Language Proficiency

Sun Jul 20 05:38:18 UTC 1997

Dear Funknetters,
Thanks a lot for your helpful comments.It seems that I have not clearly
stated my problem.My real purpose in investigating the relationship between
intelligence and language proficiency is to learn more about the structure
of the latter.In second/foreign language testing literature,we use factor
analysis for testing the psychological reality (construct validity) of the
components we believe to be part of language proficiency.However,studies
making use of this statistical technique have lead to often contradictory
results.Some of the findings say that we have one single language ability
which is not divisible into smaller components.Some others claim that
language proficiency can easiliy be broken down into smaller sections,such
as listening comprehension,reading comprehension,and knowledge of grammar.
Still other studies have found that the structure of language proficiency is
sensitive to the proficiency level of the learners;i.e.,language proficiency
is divisible in beginners and unifactorial in advanced learners.It is my
hunch that cognitive variables such as intelligence have a role in
determining the nature (or the structure) of second language proficiency.
The first problem is obtaining a real estimate of the learners
intelligence.The second problem is determining the exact relationship between
intelligince and what cognitive psychologists call cognitive structure or
cognition.How are these two related?
I would be grateful if you send me your useful comments.
Ramin Akbari,English Department,
Tarbiat Modaress University,Tehran,Iran.
email:AKBARI_R at

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