Some people are better at learning different and new languages than others. A U.S. military test has long been used to identify such individuals and now such a test may soon be made available to the general public.
The test is called High Level Language Aptitude Battery (Hi-LAB) and was originally created by researchers at the University of Maryland. The aim of the test is to determine the language-learning methods and prowess of a given individual.
It is known that children typically have brilliant language-learning skills. It turns out that there are certain adults who learn new language much the same way children do. This gives them a distinct advantage over their peers, allowing them to understand the details and nuances of a new language far more quickly than the rest. Hi-LAB searches for such childlike method-learning in adults and then pinpoints the ones who are more adequately suited to the task.
The test has been used by the U.S. military for some time now. Given the post-9/11 world and the engagement of U.S. troops in numerous regions around the globe, there was a need for military to teach new languages to personnel going to these regions. To avoid spending resources on the wrong persons, military decided to use Hi-LAB to identify such individuals from the get-go who have a good shot at learning languages.
The tricky part is that no one yet knows exactly how effective Hi-LAB is and whether or not it helps in learning new languages quickly. However, now that the test is about to hit the public square, there are hopes that a wider exposure to it will finally help us understand its efficacy better and see whether it can be used for educational purposes as well.