Complex Dynamic Systems and Language Education: A Sampling of Current Research – Editorial

Phil Hiver*, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Ali H. Al-Hoorie, Wander Lowie

*Corresponding author for this work

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It has been twenty-five years since second language acquisition/development researchers and practitioners were introduced to chaos/complexity theory and its systems (variously referred to in our field as “complex systems,” complex adaptive systems,” and “complex dynamic systems”) (Larsen-Freeman, 1997). Unsurprisingly, the uptake of the new ideas was nonlinear. When they did attract a growing number of scholars, almost all of the research reports were descriptive—pointing out how language—its evolution, its use, its learning, and its teaching—were all complex, dynamic, nonlinear, emergent, feedback-sensitive, self-organizing, initial condition-sensitive, open, adaptive systems. In addition to these characteristics, because language is comprised of many interacting components and can be characterized by a number of scale-free power laws, such as Zipfian distributions, it indeed qualifies as a complex system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Complexity in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8-May-2023

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