Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

General discussion about learning languages
User avatar
Serpent
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2326
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish+ (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German+, Italian+
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian, Czech; Romanian+, Galician; Danish, Swedish
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Chaucer's English
+ means exploring the dialects/variants
x 2965
Contact:

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Serpent » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:32 am

Um I've never seen such a low number, generally I believe it's supposed to be until 11-12 or even 13. that's called the critical period hypothesis.

(if you move to Finland as a teen, you don't need to pass a Finnish exam unless you're 15 or older. obviously in this case a perfect accent isn't that important, but it's believed that you can pick up the language relatively easily through immersion)
0 x
: 2 / 40 Budva na pjenu od mora: 3rd season (Croatian/Montenegrin)
LyricsTraining now offers Catalan, Turkish and Japanese romaji

Cainntear
Blue Belt
Posts: 744
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 1461
Contact:

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Cainntear » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:00 am

reineke wrote:Similarly in regard to psychopaths, the mere fact that they do not endorse the “correct” answers on EI tests does not mean they lack some form of “intelligence” required to understand emotions, because the test itself is not a measure of intelligence (Locke, 2005) but one of conformity to social norms. By definition, psychopaths disregard social norms, so the test does not seem to tell us anything we do not already know."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201209/emotional-intelligence-not-relevant-psychopaths

Thanks, that's a really useful link... in that McGreal says what I was thinking better than I could have.

"Hence, if you pick the answer that most people agree with you may be considered “emotionally intelligent”. This is in striking contrast to tests of general intelligence where highly intelligent people can produce correct answers to difficult questions where most people cannot (Brody, 2004)."

In fact, one of Gardner's motivations for multiple intelligence theory was the existence of savants, people with serious mental disorders that showed extreme ability in a narrow set of skills (think Rain Man, or this severely disabled pianist). When we exclude psychopaths from EI we basically remove the EI equivalent of savants, making it fundamentally different from any other proposed "intelligence".
1 x

User avatar
tarvos
Brown Belt
Posts: 1246
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Hollandiában
Languages: Native: Dutch, English
Expert: French, Russian, Swedish, German, Romanian, Esperanto, Spanish
Advanced: Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Norwegian
Intermediate: Hebrew, Icelandic, Hungarian
Beginner: Breton, Korean, Finnish, Polish, Japanese, Bulgarian
Read-only: Danish, Latin, Afrikaans
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 2146
Contact:

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby tarvos » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:25 pm

Hypatia wrote:
jeff_lindqvist wrote: This got me thinking of Tim Keeley's presentation at the Polyglot Gathering 2016 - Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.


Hmm. I am learning German at the moment. I like the language, I like Germans and I like Germany. I am reasonably intelligent and can pick up grammar points very quickly. I am even fairly empathetic. But my accent is still rubbish. My mouth will just not make the right sounds!

The earlier point about kinaesthetic skill was an interesting one; I am malcoordinated and bad at dancing too, so maybe it all goes together.


I'm terrible at dancing and coordination, but I seem to be fairly ok at accents... I think it's improper training
1 x
To polyglotism and beyond.
Preferred pronouns: feminine.

User avatar
reineke
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1776
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:34 pm
Languages: Engrish
x 2690

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby reineke » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:33 pm

Cainntear wrote:
reineke wrote:Similarly in regard to psychopaths, the mere fact that they do not endorse the “correct” answers on EI tests does not mean they lack some form of “intelligence” required to understand emotions, because the test itself is not a measure of intelligence (Locke, 2005) but one of conformity to social norms. By definition, psychopaths disregard social norms, so the test does not seem to tell us anything we do not already know..."

Thanks, that's a really useful link... in that McGreal says what I was thinking better than I could have.

"Hence, if you pick the answer that most people agree with you may be considered “emotionally intelligent”. This is in striking contrast to tests of general intelligence where highly intelligent people can produce correct answers to difficult questions where most people cannot (Brody, 2004)."

In fact, one of Gardner's motivations for multiple intelligence theory was the existence of savants, people with serious mental disorders that showed extreme ability in a narrow set of skills (think Rain Man, or this severely disabled pianist). When we exclude psychopaths from EI we basically remove the EI equivalent of savants, making it fundamentally different from any other proposed "intelligence".


McGreal's article is entitled "Emotional Intelligence Not Relevant to Psychopaths". If I take a look at expert descriptions of this issue I run into these kinds of statements:

"Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow affect, glibness, manipulation and callousness."
"Psychopaths are characterized by a general lack of empathy and attenuated responding to emotional stimuli".
"Psychopathy is a personality disorder associated with a profound lack of empathy..."
"...it is well established that individuals with psychopathy have a marked deficit in affective arousal, emotional empathy, and caring for the well-being of others..."

"Empathy, the social-emotional response that is induced by the perception of another person's affective state, is a fundamental component of emotional experience, and plays a vital role in social interaction...Empathy includes both cognitive and affective components."

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00489/full
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/136/8/2550

None of these statements work well within your psychopath theory. If you wish to pick at the Multiple Intelligence theory, I have offered you a couple of better articles earlier in the thread including one by McGreal himself.

Cainntear wrote:
rdearman wrote:Smallwhite is correct, my question is, all other factors being equal will a more intelligent person have better pronunciation?


Probably.

As has been said, intelligent people are more likely to spot that there's a problem and determine a path to a solution.

But there's one variable that outperforms intelligence: teaching. In my opinion, intelligence (if defined as a spectrum for humans without a specific neurological or psychological ) is only really important for learning when the teaching is not optimised. Intelligence is what we use to fill in the gaps in what we've been told.

A theoretical wonder-course would reduce the impact of intelligence massively. Right now, pronunciation is one of the most under-taught language skills there is. It is an article of faith for many teachers that pronunciation "will take care of itself", so it isn't taught, and people have to go out of their way to learn it.


All other factors being equal and looking at intelligence in a holistic manner, a person with lower overall intelligence could seriously outperform a highly intelligent person if he or she is gifted in capacities associated with language acquisition. Earlier I cited the case of "CJ". He was a native English speaker from a monolingual home.

"From the age of 15 (past the onset of puberty), he had studied the following languages in succession: French, German, Spanish, Latin, Moroccan Arabic, and Italian, some of which he learned at school in the United States, and others he "picked up" quickly abroad.The native speakers of languages CJ spoke judged his ability, including his pronunciation, as native-like...

The battery of psychological tests CJ was given revealed that his musical and visuospatial aptitudes were only average... his IQ - including verbal IQ was normal, and his language aptitude as judged by the MLAT was average on most sections. However, on the IQ test CJ did particularly well on the vocabulary and code-learning and retention subtests. He also obtained superior scores on cognitive subtests related to pattern matching and decoding. Finally, on the MLAT, he again excelled on subtests related to learning new codes, and also did well on guessing a word when only a consonant was given. His verbal memory (but not other types of memory) was outstanding and thought to be closely linked to his highly successful L2 learning profile."

Case Study Research in Applied Linguistics
By Patricia Duff

According to Teepen (2004) "the tests showed that he does not use words in a very abstract or sophisticated way. Proverbs proved difficult for him interpret. He also displayed a relatively poor performance on visual-spatial tasks. It might then be accurate to claim that CJ is highly intelligent in areas that pertain to second language acquisition, but only average or below average in other areas."

Regarding language teaching and general intelligence, here's where this type of theorizing and problem-solving may lead:

Second Language Acquisition and General Intelligence

"This paper will address the continuing failure of foreign language teaching to achieve its apparent purposes. It will discuss the viability of teaching foreign languages in an academic setting to all members of the student population. It will argue that the standard IQ test, which measures general intelligence, has overall predictive validity for academic and other kinds of success. It will argue that there is a degree of linkage between general intelligence (the ‘g’ factor) and first language learning and a much larger connection between ‘g’ and second language acquisition, particularly in a foreign language environment, and that these connections have largely been ignored for reasons of political philosophy, even though the ‘g’ factor is as important a problem for language learning as for mathematics and physics."

"In a nutshell, classroom based learning of a second language requires sensitivity to rules, processing speed and considerable powers of memorization in the area of verbal skills. It makes demands that can only be met by those with higher than average levels of ‘academic’ power, in other words of the intelligence that IQ tests aim to measure."

"IQ tests should be implemented at the pre-junior high school stage in order to select pupils who will potentially benefit from classroom based language education."

"There is no real need for the majority of the population of a large country like Japan to acquire competence in a foreign language, anymore than there is for them all to become concert pianists."

http://jairo.nii.ac.jp/0337/00000115/en
2 x

Cainntear
Blue Belt
Posts: 744
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 1461
Contact:

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby Cainntear » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:04 pm

reineke wrote:McGreal's article is entitled "Emotional Intelligence Not Relevant to Psychopaths". If I take a look at expert descriptions of this issue I run into these kinds of statements:

"Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow affect, glibness, manipulation and callousness."
"Psychopaths are characterized by a general lack of empathy and attenuated responding to emotional stimuli".
"Psychopathy is a personality disorder associated with a profound lack of empathy..."
"...it is well established that individuals with psychopathy have a marked deficit in affective arousal, emotional empathy, and caring for the well-being of others..."

"Empathy, the social-emotional response that is induced by the perception of another person's affective state, is a fundamental component of emotional experience, and plays a vital role in social interaction...Empathy includes both cognitive and affective components."

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00489/full
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/136/8/2550

None of these statements work well within your psychopath theory. If you wish to pick at the Multiple Intelligence theory, I have offered you a couple of better articles earlier in the thread including one by McGreal himself.

All of those statements refer to empathy and as I keep saying, one of the problems of EI is that it gets too close to being another word for empathy.

Consider this: if I was to drink a glass of methanol, I would go blind (and if not treated, probably die). During the period between going blind and being cured (or dying), would my "visual intelligence" be reduced? If I'm as capable of functioning after the cure as before it, clearly the answer is "no". So a person can have visual intelligence without sight, and logically, a person should be able to have emotional intelligence without empathy.

Also, if emotional intelligence is tied to empathy, who is more emotionally intelligent: the person who breaks down in tears when watching another person in pain, or the person who goes over and hugs them and tells them it will be alright?

All other factors being equal and looking at intelligence in a holistic manner, a person with lower overall intelligence could seriously outperform a highly intelligent person if he or she is gifted in capacities associated with language acquisition.

In which case all other factors are not equal.
1 x

User avatar
aokoye
Brown Belt
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:14 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Languages: English (N), German (B2), Swedish (beginner), Dutch (beginner), French (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2935
x 1553
Contact:

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby aokoye » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:03 pm

From the section of one of the articles you posted:
reineke wrote:"IQ tests should be implemented at the pre-junior high school stage in order to select pupils who will potentially benefit from classroom based language education."

"There is no real need for the majority of the population of a large country like Japan to acquire competence in a foreign language, anymore than there is for them all to become concert pianists."

http://jairo.nii.ac.jp/0337/00000115/en

Does the world, or Japan for that matter, need one more way to track their students? I'm gonna go with no. As someone who is very interested in language education policy and who lives in a majority monolingual country that sounds like such a horrible idea.

We may as well also keep doing away with music education and we should also nix really anything above the most basic of algebra classes because really the majority of the population of any large country doesn't need to become competent at higher maths (not that most people are anyways). /sarcasm
4 x
Prefered gender pronouns: Masculine

User avatar
reineke
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1776
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:34 pm
Languages: Engrish
x 2690

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby reineke » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:49 am

rdearman wrote:It occured to me recently people I know who speak a 2nd language tend to have better pronunciation the smarter they are. Now forgive me for making judgments, but I have known a couple of people who could speak 2 languages, but honestly they weren't smart. Couldn't pour water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the bottom and their pronunciation was really really bad and never seemed to improve.

I have known others, who are very smart and have good pronunciation. So is this just my experiance based on a sample size of only 3-5 people? Or is there something which allows smart people to better mimic sounds? Anyone ever heard of a study of intelligence vs pronunciation?

I realise I've a completely subjective view, but wondered if there were some objective research?


"...But it wasn't just his curiosity that turned Ikonomou into a language nut. Nor was it his intellligence, which won him membership in the high-IQ society Mensa International... "

Ikonomou:
“I am not a machine. I do not speak languages perfectly. I have a Greek accent!”

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5605&start=20
0 x

William Camden
Green Belt
Posts: 309
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:47 am
Location: Greenwich Mean Time zone
Languages: English (N), German (fluent), Turkish (fluent), Russian (fluent), French (semi-fluent), Spanish (semi-fluent), am studying Polish, have some knowledge of it, also studying modern Greek, basic knowledge of Arabic (mostly MSA, some exposure to colloquial dialects), basic knowledge of Latin and Italian, beginner in Scottish Gaelic.
x 334

Re: Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?

Postby William Camden » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:51 am

I don't think there is a close connection. Einstein had a strong southwest German accent when he spoke English, which he learned fairly late in life. Kissinger has been alluded to already. Some people are more amenable to social pressures than others, for example changing their accent to escape bullying etc. Someone else might react "Screw you. This is the way I talk!"
0 x
: 9 / 25Greek FSI Part 1
: 3826 / 3826Greek Memrise


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest