Chapter 5. Why theory and research are important for the practice of teaching

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Theoretical approaches to second language research suggest that the interaction between different linguistic modules may be at the root of many difficulties faced by learners. The choice of mood in relative clauses in Spanish illustrates the problem given that, in order to be proficient in this area, speakers must know what the two moods, indicative and subjunctive, bring to the meaning of the sentences (semantics) and what the contribution of the context is (pragmatics). Based on results of research carried out by generative linguists on the acquisition of mood selection in relative clauses, this paper argues that the results of theoretically based research that looks at questions such as these has an important contribution to make to language teaching, bridging the gap between generative linguistic approaches to SLA and pedagogy.


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