Chapter 3. From Julie to Wes to Alberto

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This chapter revisits the construct of fossilization, the bedrock of Selinker’s (1972) Interlanguage Hypothesis. After reviewing the early conception of fossilization, I focus my discussion on intra-learner, and to a lesser extent, inter-learner differential success or failure, arguing that fossilization is selective, idiosyncratic, and contingent. I end the discussion by underscoring that the study of fossilization is less about revealing deviances from the presumed norm than about resolving a dual cognitive conflict, namely, why is it that in spite of propitious conditions, development is cut short in some areas? And why is the developmental interruption made most apparent when learners attempt self-expressions (i.e., meaning-based production) in the target language?


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