There is a growing interest in second language acquisition (SLA) research
in interdisciplinary approaches as that are by theoretical as much as
practical need of understanding language learning and performance.
Intellectually, second language acquisition research is now a recognised
independent field of academic inquiry concerned with cognitive,
psychological, social and pragmatic aspects of the phenomenon of second
language development. SLA research tends to be both highly theoretical and
experimental and as such lends itself well to the rigour of scientific
research. It is in this context that the use of well articulated theories
and concepts is increasingly seen as an essential research and ‘thinking’
tool for understanding and conducting SLA research. Processability Theory
(Pienemann 1998) is one of the more prominent theories that have been
applied across a number of second languages. The logic underlying
Processability Theory is that at any stage during the developmental
process, the learner can produce and comprehend only those target language
linguistic forms which the current state of the language processor (i.e.
the learner language) can handle. It is therefore crucial to understand the
architecture of the language processor and the way in which it handles
second language development.
The chapters included in this book will report on the various technical and
theoretical aspects of experimental SLA research across a number of
typologically different languages. The book includes detailed chapters
outlining the key theoretical claims and methodological requirements
underpinning this kind of SLA research. Many of the subsequent chapters
report Processability Theory-related studies to the wider field of SLA
research. Though the emphasis is on cross-linguistic experimental research
undertaken within the parameters of Processability Theory, the book
nevertheless sheds the light on the nexus between bilingualism and
theory-driven second language acquisition research.