Making Music and Learning Languages – Musicality and Grammar Aptitude

  • Daniel Malzer
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 16)


Research on correlations between musicality and language aptitude have been predominantly investigating the phonetic aspect of language processing. The current state of research suggests a strong and stable link between musicality and receptive language abilities, such as recognition of sounds, intonation and stress patterns, as well as productive skills. Relatively fewer studies have explored relations of musicality and grammar aptitude, despite neurological studies highlighting similar brain regions involved in the processing of musical, especially rhythmic, as well as grammatical patterns. This paper thus aims to investigate if musical training and musicality does indeed relate to grammatical skills. It is hypothesised that extensive musical training does not only impact the musical ear but also the ability to de- and encode structures, as well as the capacity to recognise and retain complex sequences. These specific skills are widely recognised to be involved in the acquisition of novel grammar. Research was conducted by testing a sample of 25 participants, which was split into two groups, musicians and non-musicians. Musicality of all participants was assessed and a grammar achievement test was issued. The results suggest a strong correlation between musical training, musicality and grammatical aptitude.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Malzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and American StudiesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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