Second language acquisition has an identity problem. It is a young field struggling to emerge from the parent fields of education and applied linguistics. In his new book, Problems in Second Language Acquisition, Mike Long proposes a way to help second language acquisition develop a systematic and coherent focus using the philosophy of science as the lens.
The volume is neatly organized into three parts--theory, research, and practice. This structure allows a focus on areas of SLA of interest to many in the field. These include theory proliferation and comparative theory evaluation; the Critical Period Hypothesis and negative feedback; and the practice of “synthetic” language teaching.
The controversial volume will be of interest to researchers, educators, and graduate students in second language acquisition, applied linguistics, TESOL, and linguistics programs. It may be recommended as additional reading for an introductory SLA course in order to stimulate class discussions.
“This book brings together six chapters on theory development in SLA; detailed accounts of research in two areas where SLA research findings are accumulating; and implications of these and other SLA findings for practice. The theory, research, practice section and chapter sequencing gives the book shape, as does the recurring theme of theory development, and in particular Laudan’s notion of science as a problem-solving activity, from which the book takes its title.”
Aoyama Gakuin University
“Chapter 3 is a detailed review of the sensitive period controversy in SLA and a convincing defense of that notion. This chapter contains some unpublished research and is, therefore, valuable for senior scholars as well as new ones to the field. Chapter 4 is a review of the literature on recasts in second language pedagogy and a powerful argument for their use.”
University of California at Los Angeles
Contents: Preface. Part I: Theory. Second Language Acquisition Theories. Problem-Solving and Theory Change in SLA. Part II: Research. Age Differences and the Sensitive Periods Controversy in SLA. Recasts in SLA: The Story So Far. Part III: Practice. Texts, Tasks, and the Advanced Learner. SLA: Breaking the Siege.
The Second Language Acquisition Research series presents and explores issues bearing directly on theory construction and/or research methods in the study of second language acquisition. Its titles (both authored and edited volumes) provide thorough and timely overviews of high-interest topics, and include key discussions of existing research findings and their implications. A special emphasis of the series is reflected in the monographs dealing with specific data collection methods or instruments. Each of these monographs addresses the kinds of research questions for which the method/instrument is best suited, offers extended description of its use, and outlines the problems associated with its use. The volumes in this series will be invaluable to students and scholars alike, and perfect for use in courses on research methodology and in individual research.