Social Values of Second Language Acquisition Research

Kim, Peter

This forum is dedicated to the discussion on the social values of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research and is motivated by talks organized in the Fall of 2018 by Columbia University, Teachers College Center for International Foreign Language Teacher Education (CIFLTE): two talks by Professor Weiguo Zhang of Shandong University and a talk by Professor Lourdes Ortega of Georgetown University. Historically, SLA research has investigated the linguistic and cognitive phenomena of language transfer, staged developments, and systematicity and variability of the learner’s interlanguage. Such inquiry has led to empirical studies that explored the role of one’s internal mechanisms (both language-specific and cognitive), the role of the mother tongue, the role of psychological variables and lastly, the role of the second language (L2) learner’s social and environmental factors. Due to the field’s reliance on drawing inspiration from psycholinguistic traditions, the latter factors of social and environmental influences had typically received little limelight within the SLA community. However, this trend is starting to change as the discussion on the meaning and the significance of social values in language research is beginning to take shape among SLA scholars. A representative case in point is the talks delivered by Professor Zhang and Professor Ortega that highlighted, albeit from different disciplinary perspectives, a shift in perspective on social values in SLA research. This forum will review the role of social values in SLA research as discussed in these talks and consider the role of critical pedagogy in further exploring social values in the field.


Also Published In

Working Papers in Applied Linguistics & TESOL

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
February 13, 2019