Language Aptitude

Faten Alqahtani3

Chinese Reflection Journal

March 2nd, 2016

LIN 6720



Although I was aware thatlanguage aptitude is measurable and differs from one learner toanother, I have never placed myself in a language aptitude scale. Ihave always questioned my ability to learn languages. As stated in myfirst journal, I had never thought that I would be able to learnanother language. However, that was a wrong perception since I havealready learnt some Chinese words, structures, responses and culturalattitudes. In that regard, it is not about ones opinion regardingtheir own language learning, but it is more about how one is good inlearning a language.

I remember the first time theChinese instructor asked me to perform a “role play” in front ofthe class and I did the right thing. That incident gave me thefeeling that I would be able to learn Chinese language in spite ofits difficult sounds and structures. Although my own personalevaluation about my ability to manage sounds, use grammaticalstructures and memorize these sounds and structures was wrong, Ieventually accomplished it.

When comparing myself to otherstudents in the classroom, I realized that people have differentlanguage abilities. One of the observations that I made is that someof the students do an outstanding performance when pronouncingChinese sounds, specially the vowels.

Student 1:wu( Did not pronounce it correctly)

Student 2:bùduì, wǔ ( pronounce it correctly)

The students were able toidentify distinct sounds which were named by Carroll (1981) asphonetic coding ability. Since Chinese sounds differ from most of thestudents’ L1 sounds, the students were able to differentiatebetween those sounds and pronounce them accurately. Other studentsdid an outstanding thing by remembering words from the previousclass, for example, thanking the Chinese instructor after the end ofthe class although she speaks English:



In addition, other students wereable to use patterns, like “ha ha” which means “yes, or Ok”or “La” when constructing a question. They had the inductivelanguage learning ability which Carroll names “the learners’ability of correspondences and relationships involving either meaningor grammatical form. These remarkable observations were in my mindduring the classroom session. Truthfully, I was not able to recognizewords or structures from the previous class unless I had the handoutto check what those words really meant.

To sum up, whenever I am thinkingabout my own personal experience about learning Chinese, I cannot puta lot of focus on my language aptitude. Besides, I cannot put myselfin a language aptitude scale. I understand that I want to learnlanguages and I will be able to do so, but a lot of factors wouldhinder or enhance the learning process, but not only the languageaptitude.

Work Cited

British Council. LanguageAptitude. Available at