Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course, 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Second Language Acquisition

An Introductory Course, 4th Edition

By Susan M. Gass, Jennifer Behney, Luke Plonsky


624 pages

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Paperback: 9780415894951
pub: 2013-03-04
Hardback: 9780415894784
pub: 2013-03-04
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203137093
pub: 2013-08-21
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Now in a fourth edition, this bestselling introductory textbook remains the cornerstone volume for the study of second language acquisition (SLA). Its chapters have been fully updated, and reorganized where appropriate, to provide a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the field and its related disciplines. To reflect current developments, new sections on using learner corpora, semantics and morphosyntax (within formal approaches to SLA), sociocultural approaches, gesture, priming research, and chaos theory have been added. Students will also find expanded discussions of heritage language learning, bilingualism, pragmatics, and much more.

The redesigned fourth edition of Second Language Acquisition retains the features that students found useful in the current edition but also provides new pedagogical tools that encourage students to reflect upon the experiences of second language learners. As with previous editions, discussion questions and problems at the end of each chapter help students apply their knowledge, and a glossary defines and reinforces must-know terminology. This clearly-written, comprehensive, and current textbook, by expert Sue Gass, is the ideal textbook for the introductory SLA course in second language studies, applied linguistics, linguistics, TESOL, and language education programs.


"The authors have managed to deliver an excellent updated overview of research in SLA. The inclusion of actual learner data, in several languages, invites the reader to reflect on methods of analysis, on hypothesis-building, and on interpretation. By being forced to think as a researcher, the reader develops an awareness of the multitude of choices that can affect outcomes, and becomes more critically appreciative of existing work. This is the perfect introduction to the fascinating mysteries of SLA."Jean-Marc Dewaele, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

"Those familiar with the previous edition will be pleased with the new, intuitive organization of the book’s chapters. The content is also updated, and includes valuable new information on learner corpora, dynamic systems, gestures, psycholinguistic research, study abroad, etc. This book represents perhaps the best combination of breadth, depth, and accessibility among all current SLA textbooks." – Scott Jarvis, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, Ohio University

"In this updated and expanded fourth edition of Second Language Acquisition, Sue Gass and her co-authors have provided faculty and students with a first-rate introduction to the field. The coverage is broad and current, the style accessible, the discussions of theory and research findings balanced and insightful. Highly recommended." – Mike Long, Professor of SLA, University of Maryland

"The fourth edition of Second Language Acquisition continues to lead the field in textbooks for generalist SLA courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.It retains SLA’s comprehensive coverage of the field and its unique work with second language data samples while incorporating substantial up-to-date additions. New to this edition, the authors include pedagogical devices for student reflection throughout the chapters, a companion website, and "Points to Remember" summaries that make it even more accessible to students.This textbook has been required reading in my SLA courses since 2001, and it is truly gratifying to see how each edition trumps the last with regard to its value in today’s classroom."Lucy Pickering, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Texas A&M Commerce

The updated version of this classic textbook is perhaps the best general introduction to second language research currently available. It is wide in scope, covering both the history and breadth of the field, and expertly guides students in their discovery of creativity and systematicity in learner language.– David Stringer, Associate Professor, Department of Second Language Studies, Indiana University

"The new edition reflects a comprehensive, well-documented, and updated knowledge in SLA research. It can serve as an introductory course book for MA/MSc and PhD students in linguistics or other related fields, as well as an excellent resource book for SLA researchers and L2 instructors." - System

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Second and Foreign Language Data 3. Where do Data Come From? 4. The Role of the Native Language: An Historical Overview 5. The Transition Period 6. Alternative Approaches to the Role of Previously Known Languages 7. Formal Approaches to SLA 8. The Lexicon 9. Typological and Functional Approaches 10. Looking at Interlanguage Processing 11. Interlanguage in Context 12. Input, interaction, and Output 13. Instructed Second Language Learning 14. Non-Language Influences 15. Related Disciplines 16. An Integrated View of Second Language Acquisition

About the Authors

Susan M. Gass is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at Michigan State University.

Jennifer Behney is Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Italian at Youngstown State University.

Luke Plonsky is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at Northern Arizona University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General