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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Is the Second Language Acquisition discipline disintegrating?
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: After characterizing the study of second language acquisition (SLA) from three viewpoints, I try to answer the question, raised by DeKeyser (2010), of whether the SLA field is disintegrating. In answering this question, I first propose a distinction between SLA as the relatively fundamental academic discipline and SLA as the relatively applied field of language education. Instead of portraying the field in terms of quantitative or laboratory studies on the one hand, and qualitative or anthropological studies on the other, I will look at SLA in terms of theories that differ in their empirical basis. All scientific disciplines must create room for ideas or theories that do not yet lend themselves to empirical testing, but for a discipline to develop fruitfully it is crucial that nonempirical ideas do not outnumber the empirical. The fact that the number of empirical SLA theories is large is not in itself a problem: through the practices of rational ‘normal science’ (Kuhn 1962), the best theories (in terms of coherence, testability and scope) will rightfully come out on top.


This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 46, Issue 4.

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