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Critical Reasoning: Assumption Questions

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?

Incorrect.

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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.

Incorrect.

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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.

Incorrect.

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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

Incredible!

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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.

Incorrect.

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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

Becoming proficient in another language is not as useful as it once was.
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.
Today, people have focused careers and do not need to acquire the knowledge of another language.
Because 40 years ago international travel was less accessible, learning languages had more appeal than it does today.
Despite the far-reaching economic and social changes that may have occurred in the past forty years, learning a second language still provides all the advantages it once did.