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Complex, dynamic systems: A new transdisciplinary theme for applied linguistics?

  • Diane Larsen-Freeman (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261444811000061
  • Published online: 30 March 2011
Abstract

In this plenary address, I suggest that Complexity Theory has the potential to contribute a transdisciplinary theme to applied linguistics. Transdisciplinary themes supersede disciplines and spur new kinds of creative activity (Halliday 2001 [1990]). Investigating complex systems requires researchers to pay attention to system dynamics. Since applied linguists study language systems that change (for example, as they develop in learners, this is a useful perspective to bring to bear on many of our concerns. To introduce Complexity Theory, I list twelve principles undergirding this perspective and elaborate on three of them: those to do with dynamism, complexity, and the role of context. I then discuss several studies of L2 development that have been informed by the perspective. I conclude by suggesting that the ultimate promise of Complexity Theory is the help it provides in humanizing science.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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D. Larsen-Freeman (2006). The emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy in the oral and written production of five Chinese learners of English. Applied Linguistics 27.4, 590619.

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Language Teaching
  • ISSN: 0261-4448
  • EISSN: 1475-3049
  • URL: /core/journals/language-teaching
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