Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition

Methods, Theory, and Practice

Cristina Sanz, Editor

"A comprehensive introductory textbook . . . This book deserves the special attention of anyone who is interested in adult SLA."
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How do people learn nonnative languages? Is there one part or function of our brains solely dedicated to language processing, or do we apply our general information-processing abilities when learning a new language? In this book, an interdisciplinary collaboration of scholars and researchers presents an overview of the latter approach to adult second language acquisition and brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the latest research on this subject.

Clearly organized into four distinct but integrated parts, Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition first provides an introduction to information-processing approaches and the tools for students to understand the data. The next sections explain factors that affect language learning, both internal (attention and awareness, individual differences, and the neural bases of language acquisition) and external (input, interaction, and pedagogical interventions). It concludes by looking at two pedagogical applications: processing instruction and content based instruction.

This important and timely volume is a must-read for students of language learning, second language acquisition, and linguists who want to better understand the information-processing approaches to learning a non-primary language. This book will also be of immense interest to language scholars, program directors, teachers, and administrators in both second language acquisition and cognitive psychology.

Table of Contents


Cristina Sanz

1. Adult SLA: The interaction between external and internal factors
Cristina Sanz

2. Research methodology: Quantitative approaches
Rusan Chen

3. Research methodology: Qualitative research
Rebecca Adams, Akiko Fuji, and Alison Mackey

4. Individual differences: Age, sex, working memory, and prior knowledge
Harriet Wood Bowden, Cristina Sanz, and Catherine A. Stafford

5. A cognitive neuroscience perspective on second language acquisition: The declarative/procedural model
Michael T. Ullman

6. Attention and awareness in SLA
Ronald P. Leow and Melissa A. Bowles

7. Input and Interaction
Alison Mackey and Rebekha Abbuhl

8. Explicitness in pedagogical interventions: Input, practice, and feedback
Cristina Sanz and Kara Morgan-Short

9. Processing Instruction
Bill VanPatten

10. Content-based foreign language instruction
Heidi Byrnes



"A comprehensive introductory textbook . . . This book deserves the special attention of anyone who is interested in adult SLA."—Language and Education

"Unparalleled in its class—skillfully planned, cleverly organized and exceptionally well written."—International Journal of Bilingual Education & Bilingualism

"I learned a great deal as I read this volume, and I was also reminded of issues I had studied in the past but had not thought about for some time. Reading these chapters made me see several old issues in a new light, and they updated my awareness and understanding of some recent studies that I had not yet read. I found the authors' rational arguments and thematic analyses convincing, and their syntheses of the complex body of SLA research on adult learners was truly impressive."—Modern Language Journal

"Cristina Sanz and her colleagues have edited a comprehensive introduction to second language acquisition that will be informative to researchers from a variety of disciplines and accessible to students who are new to the field. For all readers, the book provides a broad and balanced overview of the key theoretical debates in SLA, gives a real feeling for themethodological commitments associated with different approaches, and provides detailed examples to illustrate how each of the central approaches varies in what it takes to be the core data of second language acquisition. At a moment in time when the need to apply the tools and findings of basic research on learning processes to language instruction is crucial, the introduction provided by Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition will generate the sort of cross-disciplinary enthusiasm that will lead the field of applied linguistics into the next stage of scholarship."—Judith F. Kroll, liberal arts research professor of psychology and linguistics, The Pennsylvania State University

"Equally valuable as a handbook or as a course text, this volume should be owned by any serious student or researcher in second language acquisition. The timely collection covers an impressive amount of intellectual terrain in a remarkably authoritative yet even-handed manner."—David Birdsong, University of Texas, Austin

"This text is a broad-ranging treatment of SLA, drawing out the research methodological, psycholinguistic, social-interactive, and pedagogical ramifications of a principled cognitive view of the field. The strengths and rigorous approaches of the Georgetown faculty and students' research in this area are revealed, while an informatively current and diverse set of topics and theories are addressed and analyzed. A valuable addition to the library of both the new student and experienced professionals."—Craig Chaudron, professor of second language studies and chair of graduate programs, University of Hawai'i


Rebekha Abbuhl Rebecca Adams Harriet Wood Bowden Melissa Bowles Heidi Byrnes Rusan Chen Akiko Fujii Ronald P. Leow Alison Mackey Kara Morgan-Short Cristina Sanz Catherine A. Stafford Michael T. Ullman Bill VanPatten

Supplemental Materials


Winner of the 2005 Kenneth W. Mildenberger Award from the Modern Language Association

About the Author

Cristina Sanz is a professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese and codirector of the Center for Brain Basis of Cognition at Georgetown University.

344 pp., 6 x 9

Nov 2005

344 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-070-3
Nov 2005

344 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-373-5
Nov 2005

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