Foreign language learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article provides an overview of contemporary research on the development of foreign-language ability. Following a brief consideration of current theoretical debate within the context of globalization and the rise of English as a. lingua mundi, the article treats the evolution of communicative competence as a model of foreign-language competence. The expansion of foreign-language research to accommodate theories of acquisition and of socialization is then discussed. The article concludes with speculation on future research, with particular emphasis on calls to integrate investigations of the cognitive and the social aspect of foreign-language development. This article offers a survey of current research on the process of learning/acquiring foreign languages. It begins by considering current theoretical and sociopolitical challenges in the field of foreign-language research. Next, it addresses the evolving definition of foreign-language competence. An overview of constructs representing foreign-language ability emphasizes recent expansions and reconceptualizations of the now-classic notion of communicative competence, or the ability to express, interpret, and negotiate meaning in a range of relevant contexts. This is followed by a section of the article which reviews a number of major advances in research on foreign-language development through the advent of the social turn in the broader field of second-language acquisition research (Block, 2003). The concluding section speculates on the future of foreign-language-learning research, with a focus on the agenda of integrating research on the cognitive and social aspects of language development, and consideration of several areas of promise within contemporary foreign-language research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Education
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080448947
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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