Sociocultural source of thinking and its relevance for second language acquisition

James Lantolf

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Second language acquisition research is coming to recognize the influence of the sociocultural environment in the L2 learning. For example, beginning with the early work of Frawley and Lantolf (1985), a group of L2 researchers have been exploring the implications of L. S. Vygotsky's (1978, 1986) sociocultural theory of mind (henceforth, SCT) for the learning and teaching of languages beyond the first. Similarly, scholars working within the Conversational Analysis tradition, stimulated in large part by the seminal article of Firth and Wagner (1997), have also been investigating the impact of conversation on L2 development. It should come as no real surprise that researchers interested in dynamic systems theory (henceforth DST), and its variants (emergentism, chaos and complexity theory) have also shown an interest in the implications of their theoretical stance for SLA. Larsen-Freeman (1997, 2002), to my knowledge, the first researcher to make a case for the potential relevance of chaos and complexity theory for L2 acquisition, argues for the need to expand the scope of factors impacting on L2 learning to consider more than what goes on inside of a learner's head. In addition to Larsen-Freeman's publications, a special issue of Applied Linguistics (N. Ellis and Larsen-Freeman, 2006) and an invited colloquium at the 2006 Annual Conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (De Bot, 2006) have been devoted to the topic. The contribution by De Bot, Lowie and Verspoor (henceforth, DBL&V) represents a significant continuation of this trend.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-33
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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