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Academic Paper


Title: Review of recent research (2000–2008) on applied linguistics and language teaching with specific reference to L2 Italian
Author: Ernesto Macaro
Institution: University of Oxford
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
French
Italian
Spanish
Abstract: 'L'apprendimento della lingua italiana come lingua straniera (L2), probabilmente per motivazioni storico-culturali, è di carattere specialistico. Di conseguenza, l'impronta globale della lingua italiana, rispetto ad altre lingue straniere come l'inglese, lo spagnolo ed il francese, risulta essere abbastanza limitata. Sorprende quindi il fatto che in diversi progetti di ricerca, nel campo della linguistica applicata e dell'apprendimento delle L2, l'italiano sia la lingua studiata dai partecipanti oggetto di studio. Questa rassegna di studi verte ad identificare gli approfondimenti della ricerca nel campo dell'apprendimento della lingua italiana come seconda lingua piuttosto che il contributo dell'italiano alla teoria della SLA in genere. Inoltre, ha l'obbiettivo di valutare lo stato attuale della lingua italiana nell'ambito dell'istruzione formale. L'autore suggerisce la presenza di un rapporto tra la comprensione del processo di apprendimento della lingua italiana e la richiesta dell'italiano come L2. Questa rassegna riassume e categorizza quasi settanta studi condotti in una varietà di contesti educativi e offre proposte e stimoli per futuri progetti di ricerca.

Italian has for many years been considered somewhat of a specialist language when studied as a second language (L2) and this is perhaps due to historical and cultural factors. Its footprint worldwide compared to such languages as English, Spanish and French is therefore somewhat limited. Surprisingly, however, there is a considerable body of research in applied linguistics and second language acquisition (SLA) in which Italian features as the language being studied. This review sought to identify the extent to which the research provided specific insights into how Italian as a second or foreign language (L2 Italian) is learnt as opposed to the ways in which it has contributed to SLA theory-building more generally. In addition, it sought to assess how well Italian is holding up as a language being learnt in formal instructed contexts. The author suggests that insights into the learning of Italian and uptake by Italian students may be inter-related. The present review summarises and categorises nearly seventy empirical studies conducted in a variety of educational contexts and offers suggestions for future avenues of research.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Teaching Vol. 43, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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