Chapter 7. Sociocultural Theory and second language development

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This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical foundations of Sociocultural Theory and an up-to-date account of current research stemming from this perspective. At the core of this theory is mediation, which refers to the process that enables humans to deploy physical and psychological tools to gain control over social and mental activity. Development is seen as the ability to internalise or make use of culturally created means of mediation, e.g., language, to gain such control. Language development is therefore seen as the ability to increasingly take part in social activity. In turn, this ability is implicated in linguistic change in a recurring and interdependent developmental cycle. The chapter discusses how crucial questions have been addressed by key Sociocultural Theory scholars and explores how future empirical investigation can further contribute to our understanding of second language acquisition (SLA).


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