Learning context and its effects on second language acquisition: Introduction

Joseph Collentine, Barbara F. Freed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Thirty years ago, Dell Hymes (1972) observed that knowing what goes on outside the school setting is necessary to understanding what goes on inside. He noted further that the key to understanding language in context is to start not with language but with context .. [and then to] systematically relate the two (pp. xix-lvii). Recently, the importance of learning context has stirred debate within SLA circles, and two coexisting lines of research have contributed to the overall picture that researchers and pedagogues have on SLA. On the one hand, scholars such as Long (1997) contended that it is important to provide an understanding of the acquisition process in psycholinguistic terms relatively independent of external factors (e.g., sociolinguistic variables or the particular methodology employed in a classroom). Researchers such as Firth and Wagner (1997) contended that the best predictive models of SLA consider the interaction of social activity and psycholinguistic elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-171
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Second Language Acquisition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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