Theoretical Approaches to Second/Foreign Language Acquisition and/or Learning

In a recent post on the blog “Foreign Language Education in the 21st Century”, Jürgen Kurtz, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany, writes:

In a recent paper published in the Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Herschensohn & Young-Scholten 2013), Florence Myles looks at “the major theoretical families that currently exist in SLA research” (2013: 46). Comparing the most influential linguistic, cognitive, and sociocultural frameworks and approaches to second language acquisition, she identifies a number of divergent trends and “a plethora of different and seemingly conflicting claims” (2013: 46), arguing that due to the complexity of language and language learning “a single SLA theory is currently beyond our reach” (2013: 70). I agree in principle but there remains the question as to “where all the different and sometimes conflicting approaches originate from” (2013: 70). According to Myles, most of the seemingly irreconcilable theoretical positions that are under discussion today originate from conflicting views of the nature of language and language acquisition, but she remains relatively vague in this respect (2013: 70). Here are my thoughts on this: …

To read more, click here:

Theoretical Approaches to Second/Foreign Language Acquisition and/or Learning.

Reblogged: “A New Way to Teach Grammar: The Bilingual Option” by Wolfgang Butzkamm

Reblogged from the German SLA blog “Foreign Language Education in the 21st Century”:

A New Way to Teach Grammar: The Bilingual Option.


Wolfgang Butzkamm has long been an advocate of what he calls ‘enlightened monolingualism’, calling for language teachers to draw on the conscious and sub-conscious systemic and lexical L1 knowledge of their foreign language learners. In this guest post on , he showcases one of the techniques described in his 2009 book “The Bilingual Reform” which was reviewed by CLERA’s Elisabeth Wielander in “Für Sie gelesen”, Info-DAF 38 (2/3), April/Juni 2011, 181-183 (available for download here).

Butzkamm, Wolfgang & Caldwell, John A.W. (2009). The Bilingual Reform. A Paradigm Shift in Foreign Language Teaching. Tübingen: Narr.


Call for papers: EUROSLA 24, September 2014

The Centre for Language Learning Research in the Department of Education, University of York, is pleased to announce that it will host EUROSLA 24, the 24th Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association. You are kindly invited to submit abstracts for papers, posters, thematic colloquia and doctoral workshops on any domain and subdomain of second language research.

The Conference will start in the morning of 4 September 2014 and close at lunchtime on 6 September 2014. Preceding the Conference, there will be a doctoral workshop and a Language Learning roundtable, both on 3 September. The theme of this year’s roundtable is ’Language learning theory and practice: Bridging the gap’.

Plenary speakers
François Grosjean, University of Neuchâtel
Leah Roberts, University of York
Natasha Tokowicz, University of Pittsburgh
Sharon Unsworth, Radboud University Nijmegen

Key dates
28 February 2014: abstract submission deadline
25 April 2014: notification of acceptance
28 April 2014: early bird registration starts
15 June 2014: registration closes for presenters
25 June 2014: early bird registration closes
26 June 2014: full fee registration starts
3 September 2014: doctoral workshop and roundtable
4-6 September 2014: conference

Student stipends
As in previous years, several student stipends will be available for doctoral students.
If you wish to apply, please send the following information to before 28 February 2014:
1. Name, institution, and address of institution; 2. Curriculum vitae (attached); 3. Official confirmation of a PhD student status; 4. Statement (email) from supervisor or head of Department that the applicant’s institution cannot (fully) cover the conference-related expenses.

Publication of papers
A selection of papers presented at EUROSLA 2014 will be published in the EUROSLA 24 Yearbook following a peer-review process. There is an annual prize for the best EUROSLA Yearbook article. This includes a framed certificate presented at the EUROSLA General Assembly, a fee waiver for the following EUROSLA conference and conference dinner, and free EUROSLA membership for a year.

Abstract submission policy
Each author may submit no more than one single-authored and one co-authored (i.e. not first-authored) abstract to be considered for oral presentations, including colloquia and doctoral workshops. More than one abstract can be submitted for poster presentations. Paper and poster proposals should not have been previously published. All submissions will be reviewed anonymously by the scientific committee and evaluated in terms of rigour, clarity and significance of the contribution, as well as its relevance to second language research. Abstracts should not exceed 450 words (excluding the title, but including optional references).

To submit an abstract please visit

Talks and workshop: Explorations in SLA and TBL – Rod Ellis at Aston University



To book a place, please email Jacquie Harding (!

Rod Ellis flyerx

Current issue: Reading in a Foreign Language (RFL)


The April 2013 issue (Volume 25, Number 1) of the electronic journal Reading in
a Foreign Language (RFL) is now online and can be read at

This issue begins as a special issue, “Reading in Less Commonly Taught Languages”, edited by Neil J. Anderson of Brigham Young University. In the first article, Shen and Jiang provide valuable insights into reading fluency of Chinese characters, focusing their research on word segmentation accuracy and comprehension. The second
article in this special issue focuses on the value of phonics instruction in learning to read in Italian by Cihon, Morford, Stephens, Morrison, Shrontz, and Kelly, in which the authors provide information from three studies they conducted to illustrate the value of developing decoding skills in learning to read Italian.

In addition, there are two articles in our regular research section. Junko Yamashita examines word recognition and passage level reading. Ryoko de Burgh-Hirabe and Anne Feryok discuss a model for extensive reading motivation in the Japanese as a foreign language setting. We also have a review by Nancy Meredith of Mastering Academic Reading.

RFL is a scholarly, refereed journal published on the World Wide Web by the University of Hawai`i, with Richard R. Day and Thom Hudson as the co-editors and Anne Burns, Director of CLERA at Aston University, as the reviews editor.

The journal is sponsored by the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), the University of Hawai‘i College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, and the University of Hawai‘i Department of Second Language Studies. The journal is a fully-refereed journal with an editorial board of scholars in the field of foreign and second language reading. There is no subscription fee to readers of the journal. It is published
twice a year, in April and October. Detailed information about Reading in a Foreign Language can be found at

Conference: Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning

Conference: Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning
10 April – 12 April, 2013 – University of Southampton
Keynote Speakers:
Jim Coleman, Open University, UK
Celeste Kinginger, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Ulrich Teichler, University of Kassel, Germany

Study/ residence abroad is a major and growing feature of higher education today, with an estimated 3.7million students participating annually. The European Union has set a target of 20 per cent of students undertaking some form of study/residence abroad, and some countries are already surpassing this level.
Study/ residence abroad can be a life-changing experience for participants, leading to academic, cultural, intercultural, linguistic, personal and professional gains (BA-UCML, 2012). At the same time, in the UK some student groups remain reluctant to participate, and those who do participate benefit from the experience to varying degrees. The design of programmes and support systems for students abroad can significantly affect their experience and the benefit they derive from it.

For more information and to register for the event go to the conference website.

Call for Papers: “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Language Learning“

University of Jyväskylä logo31st Summer School of Applied Language Studies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Language Learning

June 03-05, 2013
Location: University of Jyväskylä, L303 (Liikunta building), Jyväskylä, Finland

The 2013 Summer School of Applied Language Studies will focus on second and foreign language learning and on problems in learning languages, in particular. The event will offer an opportunity for researchers, language teachers and special education teachers to get together and to share the most recent research findings. It brings together Finnish and international expertise in applied linguistics, mother tongue and foreign language education, special education, and psychology.

Invited speakers:
Docent Åsa Wengelin, Gothenburg University: “Writing processes in writers with and without language difficulties”
Professor Mikko Aro, University of Jyväskylä: “The role of linguistic skills in learning disabilities”
Professor Charles Alderson, Lancaster University: “Diagnosing reading in a second or foreign language”

More information on the conference website.
For further queries, please contact

Call for posters and demonstrations

The organisers invite the submission of proposals for poster presentations or demonstrations at the 31st Summer School of Applied Language Studies (Multidisciplinary perspectives to language learning). Submissions should focus on problems in reading or writing in a second / foreign language (SLF), orconcern problems in SFL oral skills or problems in first language skills that may have implications for SFL learning.
The focus of the presentation can be theoretical or practical or their combination. The presentation can concern any relevant aspect of or approach to the phenomenon of interest (e.g., research, intervention, teaching, materials, exercises, software).
Posters will be peer-reviewed by Summer School organisers based on relevance to the theme of the conference, originality, significance, quality, and clarity.
Language of conference is English, but posters and demonstrations can also be presented in Finnish.

Important dates:
February 28th, 2013 Poster / demonstration submission deadline
March 15th, 2013 Acceptance notifications
March 31st, 2013 Deadline for early bird registration

More information on the Summer School website.