Implicit AND explicit language learning
Learning symbols and their arrangement in language involves learning associations across and within modalities. Research on implicit learning and chunking within modalities (e.g. N. C. Ellis, 2002) has identified how language users are sensitive to the frequency of language forms and their sequential probabilities at all levels of granularity from phoneme to phrase. This knowledge allows efficient language processing and underpins acquisition by syntactic bootstrapping. Research on explicit learning (e.g. N. C. Ellis, 2005) has shown how conscious processing promotes the acquisition of novel explicit cross-modal form-meaning associations. These breathe meaning into the processing of language form and they underpin acquisition by semantic bootstrapping. This is particularly important in establishing novel processing routines in L2 acquisition. These representations are also then available as units of implicit learning in subsequent processing. Language systems emerge, both diachronically and ontogenetically, from the statistical abstraction of patterns latent within and across form and function in language usage. The complex adaptive system (N. C. Ellis & Larsen-Freeman, 2009b) of interactions within AND across form and function is far richer than that emergent from implicit or explicit learning alone.