Atelier : Usage-based Second Language Acquisition: Implicit and Explicit learning and their Interface

Conférencier invitéNick Ellis, Professor of Psychology, Professor of Linguistics, and Research Scientist in the English Language Institute at the University of Michigan. His research interests include language acquisition, cognition, emergentism, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, applied linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Recent books include: Usage-based Approaches to Language Acquisition and Processing: Cognitive and Corpus Investigations of Construction Grammar (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, with Römer and O’Donnell), Language as a Complex Adaptive System (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, with Larsen-Freeman), and Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2008, with Robinson). He serves as  General Editor of Language Learning.

Résumé : 

The first part of this workshop concerns the ways in which language acquisition involves implicit learning from naturalistic usage. Psycholinguistic analyses demonstrate that fluent language users are exquisitely sensitive to the relative probabilities of occurrence of different constructions in the speech stream and their most likely interpretations in context. Such frequency effects provide clear testament of usage-based acquisition. Implicit learning  provides a distributional analysis, tallying the occurrence of constructions, generalizing schemata from conspiracies of memorized utterances, and forging composites by chunking. These processes provide optimal solutions to the problem spaces of form-function mappings and their contextualized use.

Yet however necessary in rational fluency, these incidentals are not sufficient. Many aspects of second language are unlearnable from implicit processes alone. The “Basic Variety” typical of untutored L2A is usually considerably below what a child achieves in L1. Implicit learning does not suffice. SLA research suggests positive effects of explicit instruction and explicit learning, and high levels of adult attainment usually requires these.

Explicit and implicit knowledge are distinct and dissociated; they involve different types of representation and are substantiated in separate parts of the brain. Nevertheless, they do interact. Questions concerning their interface have lain at the heart of applied linguistic theory for 30 years or more. Our answers to these questions affect the ways we approach language acquisition, the ways we interact with learners, and whether and how we plan instruction.

This workshop reviews various psychological and neurological processes by which explicit knowledge of form-meaning associations impacts upon implicit language learning. The interface is dynamic: It happens transiently during conscious processing, but the influence upon implicit cognition endures thereafter.

Mardi le 20 mars 2018, à 9h30
Salle DS-8310
Pavillon J.-A. DeSève
320, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal
Métro Berri-UQAM


Institut des sciences cognitives

Fondé en 2003, l'Institut des Sciences Cognitives de l'UQAM vise à favoriser la recherche et le développement de compétences dans le domaine des sciences cognitives, à en partager les connaissances, à faciliter les échanges interdisciplinaires et à animer la communauté locale.


Institut des sciences cognitives
Local DS-4202
320, rue Sainte-Catherine Est
Montréal (Québec) H2X 1L7