Research Project

The Role of Explicit Knowledge in Instructed Adult L2 Learning

Principal Investigator
Dr Karen Roehr-Brackin

What is the role of explicit knowledge in instructed adult learning?

Dr Karen Roehr-Brackin has carried out a longitudinal case study into the development of explicit knowledge about language and oral L2 proficiency in an individual English-speaking adult learner of second language (L2) German over several years.

A number of individual difference factors were also studied, such as the participant’s language learning aptitude, learning style and learning strategy use. The findings of the project show the benefits of explicit (metalinguistic) knowledge and processes as well as their limitations.

Key publications

Explicit knowledge and processes from a usage-based perspective: The developmental trajectory of an instructed L2 learner

This article considers explicit knowledge and processes in second language (L2) learning from a usage-based theoretical perspective. The results indicate that explicit knowledge and processes seemed to have a powerful impact on the participant's L2 learning and use, apparently enabling him to override the predicted bottom-up developmental path in certain circumstances and take a top-down approach instead.

View or download the full article in our research repository.

Explicit knowledge about language in L2 learning: A usage-based perspective

This chapter discusses explicit knowledge about language in second language (L2) learning from a usage-based perspective, which is here defined broadly to include theoretical approaches such as complexity theory, emergentism, cognitive linguistics and related constructionist theories of language.

View the abstract or download the book online at John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Long-term development in an instructed adult L2 learner: Usage-based and complexity theory applied

The findings of this study suggest both competitive and supportive relationships between cognitive and linguistic subsystems, with the learner's use of metalinguistic tools apparently functioning as a control parameter that allows for continuous progress along the L2 developmental trajectory.

View the abstract or download the book online at De Gruyter.

Get in touch
Centre for Research in Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi) University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 872083