Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Mila Vulchanova (1). Pathways to language: Same talent, different cognitive profiles: 127-148.


This article argues for the existence of two, not necessarily complementary, ways of learning language. Drawing on detailed data from two successful young L2 learners, it provides evidence of two possible pathways, both of which may lead to successful L2 learning, a road that exploits social and communicative strengths, and one based on extracting regularities from the input through sensitivity to (statistical) patterns in the individual's environment. Both have been independently argued to account for first language acquisition. This is, however, the first evidence from L2 acquisition found in the profiles of two Slovene young learners of English. Cases of language talent offer a lense through which we can study what traits in the individual-s cognitive profile account for success in language learning, and, on a broader level, can inform our understanding of how language is supported by more domain-general learning capacities and mechanisms, and what processes are involved.

Keywords: language talent, cognitive profile, intra-modular dissociations, statistical learning, grounded cognition

(1) Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.

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