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Academic Paper


Title: Theoretical and empirical issues in the study of implicit and explicit learning
Author: Jan H. Hulstijn
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: https://home.medewerker.uva.nl/j.h.hulstijn/
Institution: University of Amsterdam
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: There are good theoretical and educational reasons to place matters
of implicit and explicit learning high on the agenda for SLA research.
As for theoretical motivations, perhaps the most central issue in SLA
theory construction in need of explanation is the differential success
in one's first language (L1) and in one's second language
(L2). Although acquisition of an L1 results in full mastery of the
language (provided that children are exposed to sufficient quantities
of input and do not suffer from mental disabilities), learners of an
L2—even after many years of L2 exposure—differ widely in
level of attainment. How can we explain universal success in the case
of L1 acquisition and differential success in the case of L2
acquisition? Among the many explanations that have been proposed,
including brain maturation and brain adaptation processes (critical
period), access to Universal Grammar, L1 interference, and
sociopsychological factors (see Hyltenstam & Abrahamsson, 2003, for
a review), one finds explanations that involve the notions of implicit
and explicit learning. Scholars working in different disciplines, in
different theoretical schools, and sometimes using different
terminology have argued that L1 acquisition (or at least the
acquisition of L1 grammar) relies principally on processes of what we
might now call implicit learning, whereas the acquisition of an L2
often relies on both implicit and explicit learning (Bley-Vroman, 1991;
DeKeyser, 2003; N. Ellis, this issue; R. Ellis, 2004; Krashen, 1981;
Reber & Allen, 2000).

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 27, Issue 2.

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