Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Guillermo Rodriguez


foreign language aptitude, working memory, second language acquisition, French, learner variables


This study investigates the correlations between foreign language aptitude (FLA), working memory capacity (WM) and learning of a second language (L2) in a university classroom setting of native English-speaking learners of elementary level French at the University of Vermont. Proficiency was assessed separately for two unique target structures hypothesized to vary in grammatical difficulty based on complexity of construction and crosslinguistic influence: the near future tense (the easy structure) and partitive articles (the difficult structure). Proficiency was measured using a timed, written grammaticality judgment task (GJT). A pretest was administered prior to exposure to either structure, and posttests were administered in the week following introduction of the relevant material. 23 out of a total of 71 students volunteered for cognitive testing, examining FLA with the LLAMA aptitude test (Meara & Rogers, 2019) and WM using a Symmetry Span task (Draheim et al., 2018). The results did not show significant correlations between FLA and proficiency in either target structure, but positive correlations between FLA and WM as well as between WM and GJT scores for the near future highlight important interactions between cognitive function and successful SLA.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.