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What is linguistic ability?

Taking on the study of a foreign language, for example, english to italian, a person must first of all:

1) clearly define the goal that he sets for himself, and 2) analyze his capabilities.

It must be borne in mind that, regardless of goals, timing, abilities, etc., the language must be studied in a complex. In the language we speak, write, read, we understand the language by ear. It would be wrong to be able to only read without understanding speech, or only to speak but not be able to read what is written. However, in real life, the language is studied unevenly, and the skills of reading, writing, speaking are now and then “ahead” of each other in development. The child learns his native language in stages: at first he only listens for a year or two, engages, so to speak, listening, then begins to speak, and only from 4-6 years old he learns to read and write.

For a foreign language, such rates, of course, are inconceivable, so it becomes obvious the need to clearly decide for yourself: why you need a foreign language, what are you going to do with it, and, based on this, prioritize – first of all, choosing between oral and written speech. If you need to learn how to read texts in your specialty and translate your articles or resume into a foreign language, then, of course, you should start with grammar. This does not mean that you do not need to listen to tape recordings of audio courses or memorize conversational formulas – all of which are necessary for mastering the language – but for now these will be secondary goals. On the other hand, if you have to regularly face situations of real communication (answering in English on the phone, explaining, showing, seeing someone off somewhere, etc.), then first of all you need to acquire verbal speaking skills. And here, of course, you cannot do without grammar and without memorizing new words, but the priority in this complex will be your work on developing your understanding of foreign speech by ear, memorizing colloquial cliches. Also important is a kind of auto-training to remove (or reduce) the fear of speaking a foreign language.

The second most important factor that must be taken into account when starting to study an overseas language is a person’s personal capabilities. This concept includes such “details” as financial capabilities, time, ability and type of nervous system. Naturally, it makes no sense to talk about the first two things on these pages. Let’s talk about linguistic abilities. The question of their presence or absence is very difficult; Western methodologists and psychologists openly admit that the mechanism of language acquisition has not yet been fully understood due to its exceptional complexity. However, it is known that a person has advantages in learning a foreign language if:

1) has good auditory differential sensitivity, that is, distinguishes between sounds and their shades, recognizes them in the stream of speech and imitates them;

2) has sufficient memory.

We can talk about different types of memory: visual, auditory, motor; short-term – long-term; mechanical, logical, associative, emotional, etc.

When people complain about poor memory, they mean an insufficient amount of mechanical memory, when words are simply “not remembered.” This is most often an age-related phenomenon (we are not necessarily talking about old age), which is a kind of payment for life experience – information received by the brain. Good mechanical memory is not a tired quick mind. It would be sad if the indicators of mechanical memory simply deteriorated with age and were not compensated by anything. But the fact of the matter is that with age, with an increase in life experience, a deterioration in mechanical memory, the indicators of logical memory improve.

Of course, a good mechanical memory is needed to memorize new words. She needs to be trained, but also to insure herself using logic, associations and emotions when memorizing.

3) possesses verbal and logical thinking. In this case, a person can learn the language inductively, moving from the particular to the general. Having understood some rule on a specific example, he logically transfers this particular case to other similar situations and extends his knowledge from the particular to the general, thus expanding his possibilities of understanding and speaking.

In short, linguistic ability is memory, hearing and logic.

It is very important for a person to know himself, his weaknesses and strengths, in order to compensate for his weaknesses with the help of his own strengths. Do you understand speech poorly by ear? Practice, try to listen as much as possible, but at the same time connect logic, try to guess what is at stake. Do you remember words badly? Try to come up with some logical way of memorizing, use associative thinking.