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In the age of the global village and the world wide web, understanding the way in which people learn languages is of ever increasing importance. This book makes the essentials of this rapidly expanding area of study accessible to readers encountering it for the first time.
Linguistic complexity is one of the currently most hotly debated notions in linguistics. The essays in this volume reflect the intricacies of thinking about the complexity of languages and language varieties (here: of English) in three major contact-related fields of (and schools in) linguistics: creolistics, indigenization and nativization studies (i.e. in the realm of English linguistics, the “World Englishes” community), and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research: How can we adequately assess linguistic complexity? Should we be interested in absolute complexity or rather relative complexity? What is the extent to which language contact and/or (adult) language learning might lead to morphosyntactic simplification? The authors in this volume are all leading linguists in different areas of specialization, and they were asked to elaborate on those facets of linguistic complexity which are most relevant in their area of specialization, and/or which strike them as being most intriguing. The result is a collection of papers that is unique in bringing together leading representatives of three often disjunct fields of linguistic scholarship in which linguistic complexity is seen as a dynamic and inherently variable parameter.
This new volume of work highlights the distinctiveness of child SLA through a collection of different types of empirical research specific to younger learners. Characteristics of children's cognitive, emotional, and social development distinguish their experiences from those of adult L2 learners, creating intriguing issues for SLA research, and also raising important practical questions regarding effective pedagogical techniques for learners of different ages. While child SLA is often typically thought of as simple (and often enjoyable and universally effortless), in other words, as “child's play”, the complex portraits of young second language learners which emerge in the 16 papers collected in this book invite the reader to reconsider the reality for many younger learners. Chapters by internationally renowned authors together with reports by emerging researchers describe second and foreign language learning by children ranging from pre-schoolers to young adolescents, in home and school contexts, with caregivers, peers, and teachers as interlocutors.
Second Language Acquisition: introduces the key areas in the field, including multilingualism, the role of teaching, the mental processing of multiple languages, and patterns of growth and decline explores the key theories and debates and elucidates areas of controversy gathers together influential readings from key names in the discipline, including: Vivian Cook, William E. Dunn and James P. Lantolf, S.P. Corder, and Nina Spada and Patsy Lightbown.
This 1986 textbook presents an account of the main concerns, problems and theoretical and practical issues raised by second language acquisition research. Research in this field had been mainly pedagogically oriented, but since the 1970s linguists and psychologists have become increasingly interested in the principles that underlie second language acquisition for the light these throw on how human language processing functions in general. Moreover, it is only through an understanding of these principles that foreign language teaching can become maximally effective. In the first part of his book, Wolfgang Klein provides a critical assessment of the state of the art at the time. The second part, 'from the learner's point of view', is devoted to four central problems which anyone learning a second language (either through everyday communication or in the classroom) is faced with, and whose solution constitutes the acquisition process. This accessible introduction provides students of linguistics and applied linguistics and anyone concerned with foreign language teaching with a real understanding of the fundamental issues in the field.
In this book the authors address five central problems in the study of second language acquisition: transfer, staged development, cross-learner systematicity, incompleteness and variability. The book begins with a definition of each of these areas and an indication of why they are important for understanding SLA. In Chapters 2-4 attempts to explain these phenomena via early linguistic, sociolinguistic, and cognitive approaches are examined. It is argued that they all fail because they attach insufficient importance to the nature of language. In Chapters 5-9 the central problems are approached from the perspective of Universal Grammar and parametric variation: it is considered that this approach provides greater insights into transfer, staged development, cross-learner systematicity and into some aspects of completeness, but that it has difficulty accounting for variability. Variability, it is then argued in Chapters 10-13, is more attributable to factors related to language use and language processing. The most important of these are: the learner's need to develop hypotheses from data where Universal Grammar may not be accessible or applicable; the learner's need to transform linguistic knowledge into the productions required for language processing in real-time; and the learner's need to communicate effectively with an incomplete linguistic system. The variability observed in second language learners who began learning after the age of seven is attributed to the use of multiple knowledge sources and the different kinds of productions which may underlie second language use. The strands making up this argument are then brought together in Chapter 14 in a single model and indications of further directions for research are provided.
Second language acquisition (SLA) is a field of inquiry that has increased in importance since the 1960s. Currently, researchers adopt multiple perspectives in the analysis of learner language, all of them providing different but complementary answers to the understanding of oral and written data produced by young and older learners in different settings. The main goal of this volume is to provide the reader with updated reviews of the major contemporary approaches to SLA, the research carried out within them and, wherever appropriate, the implications and/or applications for theory, research and pedagogy that might derive from the available empirical evidence. The book is intended for SLA researchers as well as for graduate (MA, Ph.D.) students in SLA research, applied linguistics and linguistics, as the different chapters will be a guide in their research within the approaches presented. The volume will also be of interest to professionals from other fields interested in the SLA process and the different explanations that have been put forward to account for it.

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