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THE GENERATIVE APPROACH TO SLA AND ITS PLACE IN MODERN SECOND LANGUAGE STUDIES

  • Jason Rothman (a1) and Roumyana Slabakova (a2)

Abstract

This article has two main goals. The first is to summarize and comment on the current state of affairs of generative approaches to SLA (GenSLA), 35 years into its history. This discussion brings the readership of SSLA up to date on the questions driving GenSLA agendas and clears up misconceptions about what GenSLA does and does not endeavor to explain. We engage key questions, debates, and shifts within GenSLA such as focusing on the deterministic role of input in language acquisition, as well as expanding the inquiry to new populations and empirical methodologies and technologies used. The second goal is to highlight the place of GenSLA in the broader field of SLA. We argue that various theories of SLA are needed, showing that many existing SLA paradigms are much less mutually exclusive than commonly believed (cf. Rothman & VanPatten, 2013; Slabakova, Leal, & Liskin-Gasparro, 2014, 2015; VanPatten & Rothman, 2014)—especially considering their different foci and research questions.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Roumyana Slabakova, Modern Languages and Linguistics, The University of Southampton, Avenue Campus 65/3029, Southampton, SO17 1BF, UK. E-mail: R.Slabakova@soton.ac.uk

Footnotes

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We are very grateful to the journal editors for inviting us to contribute this state-of-the-scholarship article. We are extremely grateful to four expert reviewers and to the managing editor, whose comments made the article considerably clearer and better argued. Work on this article has been supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Networking Grant (AH/M002020/1) awarded to Marsden and Slabakova. This support is gratefully acknowledged. Over the years, we have discussed in depth many of the issues covered in the present paper and/or have been influenced by seemingly passing exchanges with many of our colleagues that we wish to acknowledge with gratitude here, but especially Joyce Bruhn de Garavito, Robert DeKeyser, Nick Ellis, Tania Leal, Judith Liskin Gasparro, Heather Marsden, Silvina Montrul, Lydia White, Steffi Wulff, Bill VanPatten, and our many graduate students over the years. Whether we have agreed or agreed to disagree, your generosity in discussing views, especially when different from ours, has helped shape our current views. The authors’ names appear in alphabetical order.

Footnotes

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