Emergentism: wide ranging theoretical framework or just one more meta-theory?

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    This paper outlines second language development as an emergent and complex dynamic process. Language acquisition from an emergent perspective is defined as a highly individual process in which subsystems continuously interact in shaping the ever-changing system. The interacting subsystems result in a degree of intra-individual variability that is characteristic for the process of language learning : more variability indicates more learning. The most important implication for research into language acquisition is that we need more longitudinal case studies that allow us to track individual development as it evolves over time. The most important implication for teaching is that we should acknowledge the variability in a learner’s language and that language teaching should ideally take the form of individual coaching. Another implication is that using language as an active means of communication is an indispensable component of language learning. The emergentist perspective provides a wide-ranging theoretical framework that can help us understand the complex nature of second language development.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRecherches en didactique des langues et des culture . Les cahiers de l'Acedle
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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