Way off thread - SLA

From: Phil Chappell (philchappell@mac.com)
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 08:09:38 PDT

Sorry, All to open a counter-thread, but I have been doing some back
reading of reviews etc, and came across this intriguing section of a
review of a book devoted to second language (SL) learning and
linguistic form and meaning (see below). I was intrigued by this
section of the review (background: the field of SL "acquisition" is
still dominated by psycholinguistic theories stemming from Chomskyian
linguistic theory and conduit metaphors of communication, see Reddy's
work of three decades ago). Like some others (both active and passive
list members, based on the member list Mike mentioned earlier), I have
been living the contradiction between the dominant platform in SL
research and the one(s) that are more semiotically based and focused on
human interaction and development. But should we always be in a
position where we do not "fully agree" with the prevailing hegemonic
views on aspects of human development when we have such exciting
"counter views" based on the interests of many on this list? Views
which have spurned their own debates between, for example, the strong
socio-semiotic and interventionist, though somewhat inaccessible
theories of the Australian SFL group based on Halliday, Martin, etc;
the exciting group within the US that bases its work on sociocultural
theory, albeit criticised for downplaying pedagogy (Lantolf, Wells,
Thorne, Kramsch, etc); and the group of educational sociologists in the
UK that have expanded and made more accessible the works of, for
example, Bernstein. Apologies for the geographical divides here, but I
am sure it is a little less in your face than religious analogies.

I'm young in this academic game, and I'd love some pointers on ways to
foster cross-talk rather than cross!-talk.

Phil Chappell

I do, however, have a fondness for Monarch butterfly....

  Third, many chapters of this book are written with generative
  as their primary supporting theory. However, the fact that SLA
  linguists and grammar specialists are exploring how "form" can be
  processed into "meaning" implies their efforts to open up a
  channel with Vygotskian and other sociolinguists (Vygotsky, 1990). Many
  theologians agree that the legacy of Pope John Paul II was exemplified
  his efforts to open up a dialogue with Protestantism, Greek Orthodox
  Church, Judaism, Moslem, and other world religions. In a similar
manner, I
  sense very positive steps have been taken by SLA generative linguists
  start an "ecumenical" dialogue with other "bands" of SLA linguists who
  not fully agree with generative linguistics theory. I hope that this
  of wise efforts will continue for the purpose of further growth of SLA
  research as one area of scientific endeavor.


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