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# A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language

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A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2015, 23:59
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85% (hard)

Question Stats:

50% (02:12) correct 50% (02:29) wrong based on 679 sessions

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A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.

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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2015, 10:01
Harley1980 wrote:
A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.

anyone willing to explain? i marked d.
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2015, 13:12
1
grr8pe wrote:

anyone willing to explain? i marked d.

The assumption should be something along the lines of 'Learning a second language should be beneficial any day.' Conclusion states that the idea is not fascinating anymore... this should be the sole reason as to why people are not learning. If it is revealed that, forty years ago, people had an incentive to learn, the conclusion will fall flat. So, the assumption should dismiss any such incentive.
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2015, 07:12
Harley1980 wrote:
A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.

Hi Harley,

Can you please explain this? I marked D.
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2015, 07:31
1
KS15 wrote:
Harley1980 wrote:
A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.

Hi Harley,

Can you please explain this? I marked D.

Hello KS15

Conclusion: the learning of languages is not as fascinating as it was 40 years ago [because]
premise: people 40 years ago were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today

What if fasination is not the reason? What if people had another incentive 40 years ago and do not have it now?
The answer E says that all advantages of learning are still present so we can infer that conclusion is correct and people just do not find learning fascinating.

Answer D is enticing but wrong because what if 40 years ago learning of language had practical aspects and now it do not? People stop learning not because of lowering of appeal of learning but because of practical absence of learning? Then conclusion is wrong.
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2017, 00:57
Harley1980 wrote:
KS15 wrote:
Harley1980 wrote:
A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.

Hi Harley,

Can you please explain this? I marked D.

Hello KS15

Conclusion: the learning of languages is not as fascinating as it was 40 years ago [because]
premise: people 40 years ago were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today

What if fasination is not the reason? What if people had another incentive 40 years ago and do not have it now?
The answer E says that all advantages of learning are still present so we can infer that conclusion is correct and people just do not find learning fascinating.

Answer D is enticing but wrong because what if 40 years ago learning of language had practical aspects and now it do not? People stop learning not because of lowering of appeal of learning but because of practical absence of learning? Then conclusion is wrong.

Hi Harley,
Can you kindly explain what's wrong in option C. I agree E also looks good. How can we prefer E and reject C?
Is option c more a strengthener rather than an assumption?
The conclusion is-it is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.
C states that- Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language. S, by Today, the option means relevant to the current people and these people dont feel the need to acquire the knowledge of another language and so the fascination of learning another language has lost it's charm.
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2017, 06:03
A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language foreign to their own. There is no scientific evidence to prove that our linguistic skills are experiencing deterioration. When the same survey was conducted 40 years ago, the results showed that people were twice as likely to learn a new language as they are today, even after the age of 50. It is quite clear that being proficient in another language other than one's native tongue is not as fascinating as it once was.

The author's conclusion relies on which of the following assumptions?

A) Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
B) Due to low health standards, the retirement age 40 years ago was lower than it is today leaving people over 45 with more spare time to learn languages.
C) Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
D) Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
E) Despite the far-reaching economical and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.
whats wrong with d?
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A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2017, 07:25
2
OE from the Economist:
-- I did not find it helpful, so clarification on why B and D can be eliminated would be helpful; I feel they all add a reasonable alternative.

Why A is wrong:

To solve this Assumption question, first break down the argument. The phrase A recent survey has shown lets us know for sure that sentence 1 is a premise. Sentence 2 is also a simple fact and, therefore, a premise. Sentence 3 is a premise since it too gives us the results of a survey. The phrase It is quite clear in sentence 4 gives us a clue that it is the author's conclusion to the argument.

Now ask yourself: the author states that because people are less fascinated than they were by foreign languages, they aren't learning them as much. What does the author have to assume in order to reach this conclusion?

If the author assumed the usefulness of languages diminished with time, he our she wouldn't claim fascination is the only reason people didn't learn more languages. The assumption can never be a statement that weakens the conclusion; it's supposed to be the link between the given premises and the conclusion.

Why B is wrong:

This answer choice takes the form of a new premise about health standards and retirement age 40 years ago. It is irrelevant whether this new data supports the conclusion or not; what you should be looking for is the assumption, which connects between the conclusion and the exisiting premises.

Why C is wrong:

If the author assumed the necessity of languages has changed, he our she wouldn't claim fascination is the only reason people didn't learn more languages. The assumption can never be a statement that weakens the conclusion; it's supposed to be the link between the given premises and the conclusion.

Why D is wrong:

This answer choice takes the form of a new premise about the accessibility of travel 40 years ago. It is irrelevant whether this new data supports the conclusion or not; what you should be looking for is the assumption, which connects between the conclusion and the existing premises.

Why E is correct:

The author concludes that people are not learning new languages because it's not as interesting as it once was. However, for this the author must rule out other explanations. The second premise tells us that it's not because of our ability to learn languages, which remained the same. But perhaps it's because we just don't need languages that much any more? To favor the fascination explanation, the author must have assumed that languages are still as useful as they once were.

Another way to think about E:

If E were not true, and a second language does not provide all the advantages it once did, then the conclusion that being proficient in a language is not as fascinating as it once was is weakened: it is possible that less people are learning a new language not because they are not fascinated with it, but because it is not as useful to do so.

Thus, E is a necessary assumption to reach the conclusion that lack of fascination is the cause to the decline, and not something else.

https://gmat.economist.com/gmat-practic ... -questions
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Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language  [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2018, 20:12
interesting question. Could not get the subtle difference in meaning and marked it wrong.Thanks for the explanation.
Re: A recent survey has shown that today, very few people learn a language   [#permalink] 10 Jan 2018, 20:12
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