In this article it is argued that language can be seen as a dynamic system, i.e. a set of variables that interact over time, and that language development can be seen as a dynamic process. Language development shows some of the core characteristics of dynamic systems: sensitive dependence on initial conditions, complete interconnectedness of subsystems, the emergence of attractor states in development over time and variation both in and among individuals. The application of tools and instruments developed for the study of dynamic systems in other disciplines calls for different approaches to research, which allow for the inclusion of both the social and the cognitive, and the interaction between systems. There is also a need for dense data bases on first and second language development to enhance our understanding of the fine-grained patterns of change over time. Dynamic Systems Theory is proposed as a candidate for an overall theory of language development.
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