Chapter 8. Trying out theories on interlanguage

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This chapter examines the development of English negation through the diverse theoretical lenses that have been applied to this phenomenon over 40 years of interlanguage research. Depending on the theory, L2 learners are imagined to have different learning tasks: from traversing negation stages or adding negation strategies in a sequence, in the foundational years of the field, to learning from affordances experienced as contingent and structured by social practices, in recent usage-based theories. Each lens contributes theory-specific analytical tools and explanations that in turn can advance description by triangulation and falsification. The chapter closes with the identification of three pending issues: accounting for variation and context, disentangling crosslinguistic influences vis-à-vis universal patterns, and clarifying the ambivalent role of accuracy in development.


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