Theories in Second Language Acquisition: An Introduction, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Theories in Second Language Acquisition

An Introduction, 3rd Edition

Edited by Bill VanPatten, Gregory D. Keating, Stefanie Wulff


328 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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This third edition of the best-selling Theories in Second Language Acquisition surveys the major theories currently used in second language acquisition (SLA) research, serving as an ideal introductory text for undergraduate and graduate students in SLA and language teaching.

Designed to provide a consistent and coherent presentation for those seeking a basic understanding of the theories that underlie contemporary SLA research, each chapter focuses on a single theory. Chapters are written by leading scholars in the field and incorporate a basic foundational description of the theory, relevant data or research models used with this theory, common misunderstandings, and a sample study from the field to show the theory in practice.

New to this edition is a chapter addressing social theory, and a chapter on the implications of SLA research for teaching. A key work in the study of second language acquisition, this book will be useful to students of linguistics, language and language teaching, and to researchers as a guide to theoretical work outside their respective domains.


Praise for the previous edition:

"VanPatten and Williams have created a thoroughly accessible, informative and authoritative introduction to mainstream theories of contemporary SLA. Written by the most distinguished scholars in the field who work on the theories surveyed, this impressive collection is a definite 'must read' for any beginning student of SLA."

Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

"VanPatten and Williams are to be commended yet again for compiling a volume whose pages are filled with the latest research and depth of accurate coverage of the major theories of SLA. Each chapter endeavors to address key SLA questions from the lens of a specific paradigm, while presenting in an accessible fashion the fundamentals of the given approach. Not only is each chapter updated, but many are also significantly improved in engaging the leitmotif questions provided in the foregrounding chapters, threading the book together in a logical and fruitful way. "

Jason Rothman, University of Reading, UK & University of Tromsø, Norway.

"This volume is required reading for every graduate student in the field of SLA. For current and future second language teachers, it provides a comprehensive and highly accessible view of past and present attempts at explaining the processes involved in how second languages are learned. VanPatten and Williams have chosen key theories and the big names that stand behind them, and the result is an absolutely outstanding volume that covers SLA with remarkable breadth and depth."

Cristina Sanz, Georgetown University, USA.

Table of Contents

Theories in Second Language Acquisition

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Nature of Theories

Bill VanPatten, Jessica Williams, Gregory D. Keating and Stefanie Wulff

Chapter 2. Linguistic Theory, Universal Grammar, and Second Language Acquisition

Lydia White

Chapter 3. One Functional Approach to L2 Acquisition

Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig

Chapter 4. Usage-based Approaches to L2 Acquisition

Nick C. Ellis and Stefanie Wulff

Chapter 5. Skill Acquisition Theory

Robert DeKeyser

Chapter 6. Input Processing in Adult L2 Acquisition

Bill VanPatten

Chapter 7. The Declarative/Procedural Model

Michael T. Ullman

Chapter 8. Processability Theory

Manfred Pienemann and Anke Lenzing

Chapter 9. Input, Interaction, and Output in L2 Acquisition

Susan M. Gass and Alison Mackey

Chapter 10. Sociocultural Theory and L2 Development

James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner, and Steven L. Thorne

Chapter 11. Complex Dynamic Systems

Diane Larsen-Freeman

Chapter 12. Theories and Language Teaching

Bill VanPatten





About the Editors

Bill VanPatten was professor of Spanish at Michigan State University, where he was also affiliate faculty in the Department of Cognitive Science. He is currently an independent scholar while he also pursues fiction writing in both English and Spanish. His primary areas of research within second language acquisition are the acquisition of formal properties of language, language processing and parsing, and the interface between processing and acquisition.

Gregory D. Keating is associate professor of Linguistics at San Diego State University and doctoral faculty in the SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program in Language and Communicative Disorders. His research interests include second language acquisition, heritage language bilingualism, sentence processing, and online methods. He is an associate editor of Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Stefanie Wulff is an Associate Professor in the Linguistics department at the University of Florida. Her research interests are in second language learning, quantitative corpus linguistics, and student writing development. She is editor-in-chief of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory (de Gruyter Mouton).

About the Series

Second Language Acquisition Research Series

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.


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Subject Categories

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