Whether we grow up with one, two, or several languages during our early years of life, many of us will learn a second, foreign, or heritage language in later years. The field of Second language acquisition (SLA, for short) investigates the human capacity to learn additional languages in late childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, after the first language --in the case of monolinguals-- or languages --in the case of bilinguals-- have already been acquired. Understanding Second Language Acquisition offers a wide-encompassing survey of this burgeoning field, its accumulated findings and proposed theories, its developed research paradigms, and its pending questions for the future. The book zooms in and out of universal, individual, and social forces, in each case evaluating the research findings that have been generated across diverse naturalistic and formal contexts for second language acquisition. It assumes no background in SLA and provides helpful chapter-by-chapter summaries and suggestions for further reading.
Ideal as a textbook for students of applied linguistics, foreign language education, TESOL, and education, it is also recommended for students of linguistics, developmental psycholinguistics, psychology, and cognitive science.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Age
Chapter 3. Crosslinguistic influences
Chapter 4. The linguistic environment
Chapter 5. Cognition
Chapter 6. Development of learner language
Chapter 7. Foreign language aptitude
Chapter 8. Motivation
Chapter 9. Affect and other individual differences
Chapter 10. Social dimensions of L2 learning
Lourdes Ortega is Professor of Second Language Studies at the
This volume is impressive in many ways, including its state-of-the art coverage of the field, the scope and depth of the material reviewed, and its engaging and accessible style of delivery...the strengths of this book cannot be overstated...This volume is sure to soon become a standard SLA text in the field of applied linguistics.
Nina Spada - OISE University of Toronto
Lourdes Ortega has succeeded admirably in her goal of helping students construct personal understandings of the interdisciplinary field of SLA. She is thorough in presenting the most up-to-date research bearing on the important controversies in SLA and does so with an engaging, personable, reader-friendly style that invites students to stay focused on the broader meanings of the research findings.
Professor Mark Sawyer, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
My students thoroughly enjoyed this text. It provides a thorough and yet accessible overview of major theories and trends in the field. I believe it is destined to become the standard text for survey courses on SLA.
Linda Harklau, University of Georgia, USAOrtega has ... provided an invaluable source of information and reference for novice and seasoned researchers. This book will be of use to researchers from different corners of the world who share an interest in uncovering SLA.
Ammar Ahlem, McGill University, The Canadian Modern Language Review, Volume 66, Number 3, March 2010, pp.467-469
Understanding Second Language Acquisition is an eminently useful, thorough and elaborate overview of the most important debates in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). [It] is laid out in a well-organised and well structured manner. The language used is engaging and straight forward and the arguments are all cogent, coherent and at the appropriate level for the intended audience. ...all universities with a TESOL, Modern Foreign Languages and/or Applied Linguistics group would find this book extremely valuable.
Parvaneh Tavakoli - London Metropolitan University