Sociocognitive Perspectives on Language Use and Language Learning

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  • acquisition of L2 discourse practices. Merrill Swain suggests (Chapter 7) that languaging (verbalization as one

    cerning the French verb system (active, passive, and middle voice) show that these verbalizations appeared to enhance

    564 Book reviews / System 39 (2011) 554e584metalinguistic conceptualization e but we dont know if this, in turn, leads to enhanced use of the forms in question.James Lantolfs contribution in Chapter 8 begins with a useful summary of the dialectics of speech and gesture(p. 132), and goes on to examine the use of gesture by a learner of French attempting to choose between passe composeand imparfait verb forms in a video summary task, and the role of gesture as a tool for scaffolded learning.conceptualizes the emerging L2 grammar system) illustrates the intersection of cognitive psychology and socio-cultural theory of mind (p. 112); her analyses of verbalizations by learners as they read out cards giving facts con-Peter SaundersUniversity of Oxford, Language Centre,

    12 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HT, United KingdomE-mail address:


    Sociocognitive Perspectives on Language Use and Language Learning, Rob Batstone (Ed.). Oxford University Press,Oxford (2010). xiv, 252 pp.

    The integration of cognitive and social theories of language acquisition and use is certainly one of the major chal-lenges facing SLA research in the decades to come. The publication of a volume devoted to this theme is thereforeawelcome event, andRobBatstone should be congratulated for assembling twelve chapters by leading researchers in thefield, following their participation in an international symposium on Social and Cognitive Aspects of Second LanguageUse and Learning held at the University of Auckland in 2007. Five countries are represented (the US, Australia, NewZealand, Canada, Japan), so the volume reflects North American and Australasian perspectives on sociocognition, withrelatively few references to European schools of socioculturally- or cognitively-orientated acquisition research.

    The four chapters included in Part 1 present Theoretical perspectives on sociocognition. Batstones introductorychapter provides a useful summary of the sociocognitive orientation in language acquisition research, clearly dis-tinguishing between an analytic (separable) and a holistic (inseparable) view of the relationship betweencognition and social behavior. In Chapter 2, Dwight Atkinson summarizes his holistic interpretation of the notion ofembodied cognition within the SLA domain, briefly describing the alignment of social, linguistic and attentionalbehavior observed during L2 tutoring sessions (which he has presented in more detail elsewhere). Chapter 3, by DianeLarsen-Freeman, represents a more analytic view, and constitutes a condensed version of Larsen-Freeman andCamerons 2008 application of Complexity Theory to the study of instructed SLA. Elaine Tarones variationistperspective on classroom SLA (Chapter 4) provides concrete illustrations of the impact of social context and socialrole on L2 production (differences in the language produced by the same learner in three different situations) e datawhich Tarone interprets as negating long-standing assumptions of universal acquisition patterns (p. 68).

    Tarones chapter might have more logically been incorporated into the section on Interpersonal and intrapersonalperspectives on language learning, which includes four more chapters covering social parameters of classroomlearning processes. Chapter 6, by Linda Yates, Howard Nicholas and Michele de Courcy, presents research on Iraqilearners of English living in Australia, and highlights the role of social identity in outcomes in the L2 learning process;their findings do not corroborate the widespread idea that greater participation in the host culture (attending school,holding down jobs) will trigger stronger L2 acquisition curves. Yates team found the opposite effect: the Iraqi learnerswho made the most progress in their study were precisely those (women) remaining most isolated from Australianschools and workplaces, a surprising finding which is attributed to an identity conflict impeding acquisition for themore socially-integrated male subjects (pp. 108e109). In Chapter 5, Patricia Duff and Masaki Kobayashi applyconcepts taken from socialization research (communities of practice, cultural practices, identity) to tasks e orrather, projects e carried out by learners in a class in Intercultural Communication (p. 81); extracts from exchangesrecorded during the lessons illustrate explicit and implicit socialization processes (pp. 78e79) at work in the

  • between students, for example, can severely limit possibilities for collaboration and interactive learning.Apart from the chapters by Larsen-Freeman and Lantolf, the theoretical and methodological perspectives

    have seen, address some aspects of the cognitive fallout of certain types of social behavior, but this relatively

    565Book reviews / System 39 (2011) 554e584homogeneous theoretical orientation means that the book goes only part of the way towards realizing its proclaimedgoal of jointly looking at the social and the cognitive (p. v). Research from cognitively-orientated SLA researchtends to be summarily dismissed (pp. v, 4, 11, 26, 56), and it is surprising that current emergentist models of languageacquisition (which attempt, precisely, to develop a solid theoretical framework for considerations of grounded orembodied language development and use) are not referred to by most of the authors e Larsen-Freeman being, ofcourse, a notable exception. Part of the problem no doubt lies in the restrictive use of the adjectives cognitive andpsycholinguistic by some of the North American contributors: in a note to Chapter 4 it becomes evident that, forTarone at least, psycholinguistics is equated with the generative tradition in linguistics (p. 71); for Atkinson, thecognitivist assumption is one of elaborate, abstract, and decontextualized [.] representations (p. 26) e neither ofthese views reflects current theories in cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. The chapters by Yates, Nicholasand de Courcy, and by Lantolf, however, both give a promising glimpse into the future of SLA research, where the bestof both the experimental and the ethnomethodological research traditions will be combined to further our under-standing of the dynamic complexity of classroom language-learning processes.

    Heather HiltonUniversite Paris 8 e UMR 7023, 75017 Paris, France

    E-mail address:


    Developing courses In English for specific Purposes, Helen Basturkmen, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills,Basingstoke, UK (2010). (2010). 256 pp.

    In the field of English language teaching, there has long been interest in English for specific purposes (ESP), ormore specifically, for professional and academic purposes. Since the late 1970s and the 1980s, with publications suchJohn Swales Episodes in ESP (1988), scholars and practitioners have attempted to bring together language, learningand teaching through researching language, discourse and contexts. While some of the most recent ESP studies havefocused on research into different aspects of English used in a range of different settings (e.g. Belcher, 2009; Belcheret al., 2011; Charles et al., 2009; Ruiz-Garrido et al., 2010), some practical guides have provided teaching suggestionsfor ESP teachers (e.g. Bailey, 2011; Paltridge et al., 2009). Most recently, a number of researchers have presenteddifferent methodologies in ESP research including genre analysis, critical ethnographic research, corpus and discourseexpressed in this volume are firmly grounded in the socioculturally-orientated SLA research tradition. They do, as weThe final section of the book contains four more chapters providing Sociocognitive perspectives on classroomsecond language learning, three of which examine the structure and/or effects of feedback in the L2 classroom. RodEllis (Chapter 9) examines the cognitive, social, and psychological dimensions of corrective feedback, and rapidlysketches out a scenario for tuning feedback to the learners zone of proximal development in order to enhance learningin interaction (p. 163). In Chapter 10, Neomy Storch and GillianWigglesworth look at language related episodes ininteractive pair talk while subjects respond to teacher feedback on written drafts of reports in an ESL class, and at therole of learner beliefs on the acceptance of teacher proposals and suggestions. Paul Toth (Chapter 11) presents andanalyses the effect of cohesion (propositional connectedness among discourse turns, p. 187) on both social andcognitive learning processes in form-focused beginning L2 Spanish activities. The final chapter of the book, by JeneferPhilip and Alison Mackey, presents an analysis of factors impacting on student interaction as participants in the studycomment retrospectively on videotaped whole- and small-group activities (pair-work, role-plays). These introspectivesessions reveal that students are generally more willing to take risks in activities with their peers (as opposed to whole-class activities), but they also show that complex social factors critically effect group dynamicse pre-existing tensionsstudies and critical discourse analysis (e.g. Belcher et al., 2011). In Developing Courses in English for Specific


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