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Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (英語) ペーパーバック – 2011/2/24
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This volume presents six alternative approaches to studying second language acquisition – 'alternative' in the sense that they contrast with and/or complement the cognitivism pervading the field. All six approaches – sociocultural, complexity theory, conversation-analytic, identity, language socialization, and sociocognitive – are described according to the same set of six headings, allowing for direct comparison across approaches.
Each chapter is authored by leading advocates for the approach described: James Lantolf for the sociocultural approach; Diane Larsen-Freeman for the complexity theory approach; Gabriele Kasper and Johannes Wagner for the conversation-analytic approach; Bonny Norton and Carolyn McKinney for the identity approach; Patricia Duff and Steven Talmy for the language socialization approach and Dwight Atkinson for the sociocognitive approach.
Introductory and commentary chapters round out this volume. The editor’s introduction describes the significance of alternative approaches to SLA studies given its strongly cognitivist orientation. Lourdes Ortega’s commentary considers the six approaches from an 'enlightened traditional' perspective on SLA studies – a viewpoint which is cognitivist in orientation but broad enough to give serious and balanced consideration to alternative approaches.
This volume is essential reading in the field of second language acquisition.
‘In recent years there has been growing recognition that the acquisition of a second language is very much a social as well as a cognitive affair. This volume brings together a collection of articles documenting the various theories and methodologies for investigating L2 acquisition as a social phenomenon. As such, it is an essential purchase for anyone interested in SLA.’
Rod Ellis, University of Auckland, New Zealand
"This book should be an essential resource for graduate seminars in SLA.It is a unique testimony to the vibrancy of the field and to the astonishing complexity of the SLA experience."
Claire Kramsch, University of California, Berkeley, USA
"[A] remarkable effort to provide a comprehensive overview of current trends in SLA by gathering together different approaches in a critical way."
The contributions in the volume challenge widely accepted and taught notions such as the universal order of acquisition and the innate language faculty (or Universal Grammar). The approaches are presented not in competition with each other in some grand search for the 'true' approach to second language acquisition, but as ways to enrich and broaden the scope of the study of second language acquisition that takes account of the undeniable reality that language affects and is affected by the world outside the mind. While these approaches may be dismissed by many in the field, for those like me who have felt that second language acquisition research can be claustrophobic in its disregard for the social context of language learning, they offer a mind-opening alternative. Atkinson and the authors have presented these alternative approaches in a readable and engaging volume.
I did find the title a little misleading and would have liked it changed. If we're going for "alternative approaches" they should really be ALTERNATIVE, not just those that came after the social turn. Doesn't make much sense. I also would've liked some bigger, more recognizable names from the fields other than Larsen-Freeman, Ortega, Lantolf, and the editor himself. Would've given the book a bit more credibility.
Overall, this book was good for what it is.
However, the title (and the variety in the field) makes it hold so much potential that I really wish it was something that it's not.