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Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition

Methods, Theory, and Practice

Publication Year: 2005

How do people learn nonnative languages? Is there one part or function of our brains solely dedicated to language processing, or do we apply our general information-processing abilities when learning a new language? In this book, an interdisciplinary collaboration of scholars and researchers presents an overview of the latter approach to adult second language acquisition and brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the latest research on this subject. Clearly organized into four distinct but integrated parts, Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition first provides an introduction to information-processing approaches and the tools for students to understand the data. The next sections explain factors that affect language learning, both internal (attention and awareness, individual differences, and the neural bases of language acquisition) and external (input, interaction, and pedagogical interventions). It concludes by looking at two pedagogical applications: processing instruction and content based instruction. This important and timely volume is a must-read for students of language learning, second language acquisition, and linguists who want to better understand the information-processing approaches to learning a non-primary language. This book will also be of immense interest to language scholars, program directors, teachers, and administrators in both second language acquisition and cognitive psychology.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

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pp. vii-viii

This volume emerged from my course Instructed SLA, which in spring 2001 included a series of lectures generously given by several of my Georgetown University colleagues and Bill VanPatten of the University of Illinois, each on their current research. Gail Grella of Georgetown University Press discerned in the course and lectures the seeds of this volume, and the rest is history. ...

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pp. ix-xii

Information-processing approaches to second language acquisition (SLA) attempt to explain how nonnative languages are learned—usually by adults—and how knowledge of such second languages is used. The perspective on language acquisition presented in this volume is multifactorial and interactionist: It takes into account external and internal variables and the multiple interactions ...

PART 1: Theory and Methodology

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1. Adult SLA: The Interaction between External and Internal Factors

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pp. 3-20

Like their counterparts in the field of first language (L1) acquisition, scholars in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) need to explain both the nature of language and how it is acquired, that is, what is learned and how it is learned. Unlike researchers in the field of L1 acquisition, however, SLA researchers need to explain the enormous variation found both in the rate of ...

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2. Research Methodology: Quantitative Approaches

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pp. 21-68

A typical quantitative study includes quantification of constructs related to a research interest, data collection through experimental or nonexperimental designs, statistical data analysis, and presentation of findings related to research hypotheses. This chapter introduces commonly applied statistical procedures, with the logic of hypothesis testing as the major focus of the chapter. ...

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3. Research methodology: Qualitative research

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pp. 69-102

A wide range of empirical research approaches are used in second language acquisition (SLA), including those originating in the fields of linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and education. This range includes quantitative and qualitative approaches to research design, data collection procedures, and methods of data analysis. Although quantitative experimental approaches to ...

PART 2: Internal Factors

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4. Individual Differences: Age, Sex, Working Memory, and Prior Knowledge

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pp. 105-140

While incomplete acquisition of a first language (L1) is rare and related to cases of severe language deprivation and concomitant problems in cognitive development, achieving nativelike proficiency in a second language (L2) seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Different explanations have been proposed for this significant difference between L1 and L2 acquisition ...

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5. A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective on Second Language Acquisition: The Declarative/Procedural Model

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pp. 141-178

The neural, cognitive, and computational (i.e., neurocognitive) bases of second language acquisition and processing are still not well understood. There has been surprisingly little empirical work in this area. Data informing the specific neural substrates of second language and the relations between its neural, cognitive, and computational underpinnings have been especially ...

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6. Attention and Awareness in SLA

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pp. 179-204

The 1990s witnessed several major theoretical approaches to the roles of attention and awareness in second or foreign language (L2) learning, mainly in the formal classroom setting (e.g., Robinson, 1995b; Schmidt, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2001; Tomlin and Villa, 1994). This chapter presents first a brief report of major models of attention in cognitive psychology, followed by a ...

PART 3: External Factors

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7. Input and Interaction

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pp. 207-233

The interaction hypothesis (Gass, 1997, 2003; Long, 1996; Pica, 1994) suggests that second language development is facilitated when learners interact with other speakers. In the most recent version of the hypothesis, Long (1996) states that “negotiation work that triggers interactional adjustments by the NS [native speaker] or more competent interlocutor facilitates acquisition ...

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8. Explicitness in Pedagogical Interventions: Input, Practice, and Feedback

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pp. 234-264

Do adults learn second languages through simple exposure as do children? Do innate or biological mechanisms for language acquisition become constrained with age? Is it possible for adults to reach nativelike accuracy and fluency without exposure to grammar explanation and overt, repeated error correction? Does providing adult learners with information about how the language ...

PART 4: Pedagogical Implications

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9. Processing Instruction

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pp. 267-281

Ever since the publication of VanPatten and Cadierno (1993), the field of instructed second language acquisition (SLA) has witnessed increasing interest in what is now called processing instruction (PI). This interest has given rise to an active research agenda on PI and the generalizability of its effects (i.e., do the positive results generalize to all structures in languages?), the interaction of ...

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10. Content-Based Foreign Language Instruction

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pp. 282-302

Within the present volume’s defining interest in theoretical and practical approaches to processing phenomena in instructed SLA, this chapter favors instructional practices as compared with research practices. With its focus on content-based instruction (CBI), it addresses an area that has at best been of tangential concern to second language acquisition (SLA) theorizing and practice ...


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pp. 303-306


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pp. 307-332

E-ISBN-13: 9781589013735
E-ISBN-10: 1589013735
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589010703
Print-ISBN-10: 1589010701

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2005