This volume aims to provide a broad view of second language acquisition within a comparative perspective that addresses results concerning adult and child learners across a variety of source and target languages. It brings together contributions at the forefront of language acquisition research that consider a wide range of open questions: What are the precise mechanisms underlying acquisition? How can we characterize learners’ initial state and predict their degree of final achievement? What role do specific (typological) properties of source and target languages play? How does fossilization occur? How does the relative complexity of cognitive systems in adult and child learners affect acquisition? Does language learning influence cognitive organization? Can language learning shed light on our general understanding of human language and language processing?
This well-edited collection of papers responds to the theoretical issues that concerned Clive Perdue throughout his productive career. The 29 chapters examine similarities and differences between monolinguals, childhood bilinguals, and adult and child learners of a second language. We see how learner productions are influenced by perceptual abilities, L1 transfer, and explicit learning as they operate across the lifespan, rather than some uniform expiration of a critical period.
- Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
In this volume, written by collaborators and friends of Clive Perdue, we find both familiar themes such as the expression of meaning in language, and unfamiliar ones such as the critical period, evolution, and signed language. Well-studied migrant workers provide data as do new populations (tutored learners, child L2ers, near native adult L2ers, bilinguals). What binds the contributions is a concern with simpler linguistic systems. A worthy tribute to Clive's intellectual legacy.
- Susanne Carroll, University of Calgary, Canada
Marzena Watorek is Professor in Linguistics at the University Paris 8. Her research interests include first and second language acquisition, particularly discourse production, initial processing of the input by adult learners, and the interface between language acquisition and teaching.
Sandra Benazzo is Associate Professor in Linguistics and French as a Second Language at the University Lille 3. Her research mainly concerns L2 acquisition in the domain of temporality, information structure, discourse organization and the comparison with L1 acquisition.
Maya Hickmann is Research Director in the Laboratoire Structures Formelles du Langage (CNRS and Université Paris 8). Her research mainly focuses on the role of structural vs. functional and universal vs. language-specific determinants in first and second language acquisition.