Some comments on discourse domain as used in studies of interlanguage variability

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Variability has continuously attracted interest among some second language acquisition (SLA) researchers. Attempts have been made to explain interlanguage (IL) variability by appealing to a number of different constructs, including attention to form, planning time, linguistic context etc. A more recent attempt seeks to explain variability through the construct of discourse domain. This paper seeks to demonstrate that, although the attempt to explain variability by situating it within a discourse context is most welcome, it is not likely to be very successful since the concept is not theoretically rigorously defined. Because this definition is loose, it is difficult to distinguish the concept from more widely used concepts in language studies such as topic, genre etc. Therefore, Occam's Razor should be applied and the concept abandoned. Furthermore, evidence in support of the role of discourse domain in language variability is open to question because of a mismatch between the way the concept is defined and the methodology used in the research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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