Theoretical Underpinnings and Cognitive Processes in Instructed SLA

Authored by: Ronald P. Leow

The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Research in Classroom Learning

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138056923
eBook ISBN: 9781315165080
Adobe ISBN:


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Many cognitive theoretical underpinnings have been postulated to account for the second/foreign language (L2) learning process in instructed second language acquisition (ISLA). These theoretical underpinnings have all been used to explicate the learning process (as in stages) or product (as in knowledge) in classroom-based research and are premised, directly or indirectly, on the psycholinguistic constructs of attention and/or awareness (Gass, 1997; Leow, 2015a; Robinson, 1995, 2003; Schmidt, 1990 and elsewhere; Swain, 2005; VanPatten, 2004, 2007). In this chapter, I first provide a succinct description of the major tenets of these theoretical underpinnings of L2 learning/acquisition. Second, given that these theoretical underpinnings posit important roles for several cognitive processes in the L2 learning process, a summary of the principle cognitive processes is provided, followed by studies that have provided empirical support for their role in L2 development.

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