In a recent article titled ‘Secret Military Test, Coming Soon to Your Spanish Class’ in the science magazine Nautilus, Michael Erard summarizes the research behind a new test developed at the University of Maryland to predict a person’s ability to learn a second language to a very high level. The research behind the Hi-LAB (or “High Level Language Aptitude Battery”), intended for use by the U.S. military and diplomatic service, provides a fascinating insight into the mental processes that lie behind effective language learning. Among those identified as important is ‘implicit learning’: the ability to extract meaningful patterns from lots of instances of sounds, meaning, or linguistic structures, rather than through receiving explicit instruction. Implicit learning occurs almost at an unconscious level through exposure to cultural artefacts such as films, books and other media in a second language. Beside the rich reward of experiencing a great work first hand, if ever the learner doubted the pedagogic value of watching a film or reading a novel in the target language, this new research clinches the argument.