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LINGUIST List 17.409

Tue Feb 07 2006

Diss: Cognitive Science: Gilleece: 'An Empirical Inv...'

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        1.    Lorraine Gilleece, An Empirical Investigation of the Association between Musical Aptitude and Foreign Language Aptitude


Message 1: An Empirical Investigation of the Association between Musical Aptitude and Foreign Language Aptitude
Date: 06-Feb-2006
From: Lorraine Gilleece <lorrainegilleeceonline.ie>
Subject: An Empirical Investigation of the Association between Musical Aptitude and Foreign Language Aptitude


Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Program: Centre for Language and Communication Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Lorraine Frances Gilleece

Dissertation Title: An Empirical Investigation of the Association between Musical Aptitude and Foreign Language Aptitude

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science

Dissertation Director:
David M Singleton
Carl Vogel

Dissertation Abstract:

Given the joint ubiquity of music and language, and pre-theoretic
similarities between the two, it is relevant to consider the relationship
between musical ability and linguistic ability, specifically in relation to
second language acquisition. The specific question of musical aptitude and
its relationship to foreign language aptitude is the central focus of this
thesis.

In Chapter 2, the dissertation reviews classical and recent research on
individual differences, in particular those individual differences which
are known to have a major impact on the second language learning process.
This review reveals a complex relationship between language aptitude,
intelligence and working memory. Chapter 3 examines the relationship
between music and other cognitive abilities, focussing primarily on the
relationship between music and language ability. This suggests that further
analysis of the music-language relationship is indeed justified. From the
analysis of past research reported in Chapters 2 and 3, open questions
emerge about two important issues: the extent to which music and language
aptitude are related, and the extent to which that relationship is mediated
by general intelligence.

Empirical investigations are carried out to investigate these issues
quantitatively and qualitatively. Phase I of the study examines receptive
aptitude in music and language. A sample of 149 subjects completes the
Bentley Measures of Musical Aptitude and a language aptitude test based on
the Modern Language Aptitude Test, in addition to the Raven Progressive
Matrices Test. Phase II of the study examines productive aptitude in music
and language. Forty one of the original subjects imitate foreign language
words and sentences and short rhythm patterns. Results of both experiments
reveal a significant relationship between music and language aptitude,
independent of general intelligence. Correlations may be considered small
to moderate.





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