In Search of Processes of Language Use in Foreign Language Didactics

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1 Polish Studies in English Language and Literature 37 In Search of Processes of Language Use in Foreign Language Didactics Bearbeitet von Maria Dakowska 1. Auflage Buch. 370 S. Hardcover ISBN Format (B x L): 14,8 x 21 cm Gewicht: 600 g Weitere Fachgebiete > Literatur, Sprache > Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft > Fremdsprachenerwerb und -didaktik schnell und portofrei erhältlich bei Die Online-Fachbuchhandlung beck-shop.de ist spezialisiert auf Fachbücher, insbesondere Recht, Steuern und Wirtschaft. Im Sortiment finden Sie alle Medien (Bücher, Zeitschriften, CDs, ebooks, etc.) aller Verlage. Ergänzt wird das Programm durch Services wie Neuerscheinungsdienst oder Zusammenstellungen von Büchern zu Sonderpreisen. Der Shop führt mehr als 8 Millionen Produkte.

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3 Introduction In a nutshell In the field of foreign language learning and teaching, like in all language sciences, everything revolves around our understanding of the notion of language (for a recent discussion, see Seedhouse et al. eds. 2010). In this book, I develop a conception of this central notion intended to be relevant to the field of foreign language learning and teaching with focus on English as a foreign language. This seems natural since English is the most widely taught foreign language and has become the international language of global communication. My conception is presented in the following stages: 1. First, I take a look back at some past strategies of conceptualizing the notion of language in the context of the developing field of foreign language learning and teaching and in order to address this issue I choose the framework of an autonomous (even if only relatively autonomous) empirical discipline. 2. Next, I define language for the purpose of this discipline as a representation of its subject matter; as a result, I can use this field s constraints on the scope and level of generality of this representation to narrow down the notion of language to language use by people, whose cognitive activity is information processing, and who use language within the universal phenomenon of verbal communication, as a coding device in comprehension and production in speech and writing in various human sociocultural situations. 3. Then, I look at the locus of foreign language learning, in other words, the main components, processes and information structures of human cognitive mechanism of information processing specialized for verbal communication in order to gain some insight into the participation and constructive contribution of the foreign language learner in the process of language learning. 4. To make the notion of verbal communication more specific, I present its basic structure as the flow of articulated, information- carrying energy discharges from the sender to the addressee and vice versa, but first and foremost, I emphasize the centrality of meaning (and sense) as the causal factor of verbal communication, as well as the role of cognitive, linguistic and communicative resources available to the participants. Naturally, I recognize the dynamics of verbal communication, i.e. constructing and deconstructing 15

4 the communicative intentions which involve task- specific activations of vast knowledge representations by the participants, as well as their constructive and reconstructive processes, operations, skills, strategies and procedures involved in weaving the thread of discourse in human relationships. 5. I finally focus on comprehension and production in speech and writing to identify the foreign language learner s perspective of target language use in order to outline the options in foreign language teaching which emerge from this cross- sectional conception. The purpose and its limits This book is an attempt to conceptually identify foreign language learning as language use, a sociocultural phenomenon with its cognitive and psycholinguistic underpinnings, i.e. language- specific operations performed by people in their interactions with other people in verbal communication. Regarding some key terms, foreign language didactics is understood as an academic discipline in its own right, i.e. a science, to use a more ambitious though controversial term; for any format of reflection on foreign language learning and teaching, the term field rather than discipline is used. Foreign language learning and foreign language teaching are treated as symmetrical concepts in that our understanding of foreign language learning determines the ensuing teaching procedures. A phenomenon is an occurrence in space and time, whereas cognitive and psycholinguistic underpinnings refer to the activity of human information processing, especially verbal communication and reasoning. Operations and procedures imply human subjects with resources as well as abilities to make and integrate the necessary choices. It is a distinctive feature of this perspective that central position in the subject matter is taken up by human subjects constructively involved in communication. My purpose is to: a) conceptually decompose the phenomenon of language learning into language use as a more elementary entity in the subject matter of foreign language didactics; b) justify the choice of foreign language didactics as a discipline, in contrast to the past developments and conceptions in the field, to provide a map of steps and junctures for the purpose of dealing with the complexity of language; c) elaborate the discipline s internal hierarchical organization with some guidance from the theory of science to be able to identify language use realistically, i.e. as human cognitive processes and operations involved in verbal communication, i.e. comprehension and production in speech and writing, the processes which are psycholinguistic in nature; 16

5 c) draw conclusions and guidelines from this realistic understanding regarding various options and strategies of eliciting and cultivating processes involved in language use in the context of teaching English as a foreign language with possible relevance to teaching other foreign languages. As a term, language use emphasizes an essentially cross-sectional perspective of foreign language learning, i.e. it barely touches upon foreign language learning along its longitudinal, developmental dimension. However, without a more explicit cross- sectional view of what it means to be able to use a foreign language, it is hard, if not impossible, to develop a longitudinal perspective because the most significant temporal changes are derived from the entities of the cross- sectional representation. With this important reservation in mind, the book is intended for specialists in foreign language learning and teaching, especially English as a foreign language, which is used as a world language with all the ensuing consequences for its learning and teaching. It is recognized and strongly emphasized that the site of foreign language use is the cognitive system of human beings, specialized for verbal communication. When we try to reconstruct conditions for, and stimulate the processes of foreign language learning, we address this and no other cognitive mechanism and its communicative functioning There is no way of circumventing it unless we wish to go against the grain of target language learning. Therefore, the cognitive site of communicative processes is selected as a justified point of reference. To be useful to the discipline of foreign language didactics, such a perspective must be specific and comprehensive enough to target real processes, operations and strategies involved in language use. In the long run, such a specific focus may even contribute to the field s transformation from its present state into a still more articulate format of an academic discipline. It is not my purpose in this presentation to investigate the relevance to Foreign Language Didactics of various conceptions, theories and models in Second Language Acquisition Research, or its attitude to the neighbouring fields based on the attempts to reconcile these conceptions, theories and models with its own concerns (as can be found in e.g. Hulstijn 2002, Seedhouse et al. 2010, Whong 2010). This fascinating line of enquiry has been saved for a subsequent monograph project. Here, I prefer to focus on the phenomenon of language use itself. Some important conceptual distinctions In view of the above, three aspects of the notion of second/foreign language learning and teaching can be distinguished: 17

6 a) the natural phenomenon of first and second language learning, i.e. the empirical domain of language use and learning, which exists independently of our research policies and degree of our understanding of this phenomenon; b) the intellectual domain of reflection on first, second, and foreign language learning and teaching, which may range from commonsense to scientific, and employ a variety of perspectives on language learning and teaching, as well as representing, exploring and understanding foreign language use and learning, and c) practical teaching, aimed at evoking first and second/foreign language learning in the educational environment, i.e. the cultural domain of formal (partly constructed) foreign language learning and teaching, which may be influenced by our implicit and explicit ideas and values. The first point refers to the natural processes of language acquisition in the typical social environment, which include first, or native, language acquisition/learning as well as other languages learned subsequently, such as second language acquisition/learning. I use learning and acquisition as synonyms, with no reference to Krashen s distinction. First language acquisition is the norm in the human species. Both first and second language acquisition are natural in the sense that they happen as inevitable and universal human processes. Certainly, language acquisition cannot take place in the absence of a speech community, especially without the child s interaction with more competent individuals (E. Clark 2009, Taylor and Taylor 1990), but this interaction is spontaneous, or some would say, instinctive, and is qualitatively different from deliberate human actions, involving institutional choices and educational work, i.e. goal- oriented physical and/ or mental effort to make language acquisition happen. While phenomenon is regarded as an event or episode in space and time, the adjective natural stresses its ubiquity and inevitability in the human species, regardless of our degree of understanding or control of this phenomenon. In contrast to its natural counterparts, foreign language learning takes place when we institute it in the educational system and try to make it happen by teaching. In most neutral terms, foreign language teaching can be understood as the construction of the learner s educational environment and experience, i.e. input, interaction and feedback. In this broad sense, although the process taps our natural human propensities to some extent, it is always sensitive to various socio- cultural and political factors, not to mention material and intellectual resources, as well as social values and expectations regarding foreign language proficiency (for a recent account, see Phillipson and Skutnabb- Kangas, 2009). In other words, it is a cultivated phenomenon par excellence. As in the case of 18

7 any other cultivated phenomenon, people in charge of foreign language education are designers who make choices, i.e. follow strategies based on their understanding and resources, in contrast to the inevitable natural phenomenon of first language acquisition in childhood. Needless to say, first language development benefits from schooling later in life leading to its diversification and specialization at various levels. Second languages may be acquired both naturally, via social interaction in the field, and in the classroom environment, while being taught. The natural and the cultivated phenomena of language acquisition/learning are treated as equally real and available for investigation in the empirical reality, i.e. as empirical phenomena. For analytical purposes, however, we should keep in mind that foreign language learning and teaching are shaped by someone s implicit or explicit understanding of the whole process, reflected in the construction of learning environment and resources, as well as in teaching behaviours. The extent to which these ideas result from, are congruent with, or interfere with the mechanism and processes of language learning is open to investigation. In an attempt to understand the mechanism and the processes of language learning, its natural instances certainly provide a more solid point of reference and evidence than the cultivated ones because the latter are, of necessity, stained by our partial/approximative understanding. The difference between second and foreign languages is considerable: second language learning takes place in the educational setting where the language is taught, as well as outside, in the broader social environment where it is used for communication; the learner has extensive input and interaction opportunities outside the classroom. The ultimate attainment is attributed to both sources, i.e. language use in the field and in the educational setting. A foreign language, on the other hand, is not used for communication by the speech community at large; it is learned principally while being taught, within the confines of the educational system (on the distinction between naturalistic and instructed learners, see Ortega, 2009). This has important consequences for constructing the process: the classroom must provide sufficient conditions in the form of input, interaction and feedback opportunities to evoke foreign language learning. Mitchell and Myles (1998: 1) use the collective term non- primary languages, within which they distinguish second from foreign languages; I use my terms in the same way: second languages are any languages other than the learner s native language or mother tongue. They encompass both languages of wider communication encountered within the local region or community (e.g. at the workplace, or in the media), and truly foreign languages, which have no immediate local uses or speakers. 19

8 Cook (2010) aptly points out that the notions of native language, second language and foreign language refer to dynamic phenomena and require much finer distinctions than has been the case so far. Nevertheless, the level of specificity he suggests is not absolutely necessary at this point. Foreign language teaching is the domain of deliberate human activities aimed at reconstructing the phenomenon of language learning in the educational environment, in other words, instituting it from scratch, in the absence of this language being used by the community at large. This reconstruction takes the form of language experience, materials and resources, based on our conception of the respective phenomenon. Like breeding livestock on a farm, growing plants in a hothouse, and regulating/enhancing our own fertility, second/foreign language learning and teaching is both natural and cultivated/meliorated by human expertise, choices and work. Its reconstruction, cultivation and melioration in the educational context, however, can be effective only to the extent to which it is understood as a real occurrence, i.e. to the extent to which it is understood as an empirical phenomenon. The third area refers to the mental domain of exploration and reflection on first/second/foreign language learning and teaching, i.e. the domain of concepts, their systems, questions, conceptions, perspectives, interpretations and ideas, ranging from elementary, commonsense and informal to highly sophisticated, systematic, and even scientific, forged by various intellectual traditions and schools of thought. For the lack of a better term, let me call this aspect academic reflection, academic for its link with the institutions of higher learning and organised/developed forms of knowledge rather than in the sense of too theoretical to be of any practical value. Various fields of research have evolved to take a specialized interest in primary and non- primary language acquisition, such as psycholinguistics, the study of bilingualism and multilingualism, first and second language acquisition research, applied linguistics, foreign language teaching methodology, second language pedagogy, foreign language didactics, and others. Subfields of linguistics have also investigated numerous aspects of language and language acquisition from universal, prescriptive, descriptive, synchronic, diachronic, stratificational, functional, generative, cognitive, and numerous other perspectives. For this reason, it is not precise enough to claim that the field of foreign language learning and teaching must be guided by the field of scientific research on language - there are many, potentially relevant areas to look up to and use for guidance. The three aspects of second/foreign language learning and teaching, i.e. the natural phenomenon, the intellectual and the practical domains, have been 20

9 distinguished primarily for the sake of clarity; in fact they are hardly separable. It would be a good idea to visualize them as a system of communicating vessels in which the domain of academic reflection refers to the phenomenon in question and reciprocates with non- arbitrary guidelines for constructing the conditions for and cultivating the phenomenon. In turn, the natural phenomenon cannot be addressed and investigated without some cognitive tools, such as concepts, terms, ideas, and theoretical systems, more or less explicit, which are formulated within the academic domain. If this domain sees itself as relevant to the society at large, especially to the practical activities of foreign language learning and teaching, it deliberately targets the relevant empirical phenomenon in question, i.e. events and episodes in space and time, to capture and explain their nature, generate their understanding and to develop applications on this basis. Whether or not, and if so, to what extent the aspect of non- primary language learning as an empirical phenomenon, relevant to foreign language learning and teaching, has been systematically targeted in the language sciences is not so obvious. However, to attempt this task a very urgent matter because in the world of professional foreign language teaching on a mass scale, especially teaching English as a Lingua Franca, the practical domain cannot afford not to focus on a realistic account of language use and learning processes which emerge from the respective academic discipline. It needs all the help it can get. However, despite these interactions, each entity must be recognized as having its own specificity and limits. For one thing, research attempts targeted at the phenomenon are mere approximations at understanding so there is no reason to treat them as foolproof or sacrosanct. At the same time, under no circumstances should the natural phenomena and processes which function in the empirical reality be confused with formal constructs which function in the researchers minds. The relationship between the empirical reality and the researcher who tries to explore them is interaction, at best. Whether or not, and to what extent, our cognitive processes can approximate representation and understanding of the empirical reality adequate for the purpose at hand is another matter. It certainly does not hurt to try. On the other hand, the fact that we would like to elicit the phenomenon of language learning with our practical activities neither predestines the phenomenon for, nor prevents it from becoming the subject matter of a scientific discipline. The development of such a normal academic discipline may take place when the phenomenon becomes the focus of a research agenda congruent with the accepted scientific values, criteria and operations relevant for the domain in question. The more conceptually colonized the empirical domain, i.e. the more knowledge we have about the nature of the phenomenon in question, the easier such an approximation may become. 21

10 There is a significant difference between being scientific and being practical. This is a matter of attitudes, values, criteria, and strategies. We must recognize two fundamentally distinct human goals: epistemic, i.e. to understand the world and ourselves, and practical, to meet our survival needs and to adapt to the environment. Being scientific is a specialized route to understanding which uses such sophisticated strategies as model representations and explanations negotiated socially and tested against evidence. Being practical, on the other hand, is a route to effectiveness and workable solutions to everyday problems not limited to rationality (Carruthers, 2002, McGregor, 2007). Clearly, there is a considerable overlap and interdependence between these two forms of human activity, especially nowadays when workable solutions must be based on highly sophisticated, socially negotiated rather than subjective understanding. Both are a form of problem solving. However, confusing one with the other would only obscure the matter. Table. 1: Polarizing practical and scientific thought and action the goal the route thought the route action the effects BEING SCIENTIFIC to satisfy our cognitive curiosity, i.e. the need to understand ourselves and the world around us; looking for underlying coherence, invariance, systematicity, generality, mechanisms; scientific thought takes various diversified forms of reasoning, focused on specialized levels of science, such as model representations, theory construction, empirical testing, evaluating evidence, etc.; scientific action involves empirical research to test hypotheses, i.e. gathering data to support or modify (also refute) theories; socially negotiated intersubjective understanding of the phenomena, shared as scientific knowledge; objectivity is the value to which we aspire; BEING PRACTICAL to meet our immediate needs, including adjustment and adaptation to the environment; finding workable solutions; practical thought involves all kinds of problem solving, i.e., intuitive, inventive and creative; however, it is focused on the local and the particular, it may include engineering; practical action includes all sorts of familiar and innovative procedures to satisfy our various needs; one could say: anything goes; effective adaptation, which may be based on limited, local, individual, and subjective solutions and understanding, shared as tips or directives. 22

11 I endorse the view that science looks for generalities and regularities, i.e. coherence and underlying systematicity in its subject matter, which reflects our understanding and enables us to reconstruct, cultivate, regulate, meliorate or even (to some extent) control the respective phenomenon. This goal involves bottom- up processes of idealization which begin with our focus on the phenomenon of interest, i.e. an occurrence in the empirical reality, to be represented as a hierarchy of relevant factors (Nowak 1977), i.e. a coherent model (Nersessian 2008). Such a representation is superfluous in performing and designing practical activities. Practical activities are aimed at adjusting the environment to our utilitarian goals. Practice is thought and action for the sake of improvement of our living conditions in the most general sense. The main values here are effectiveness and success. Practical thought and action may be fairly local in scope, subjective, idiosyncratic, spontaneous, or even creative, and involve a compromise to accomplish the goal under the circumstances. Some, but certainly not all of them may be negotiated by a group of people. We do not look up to science in practical activities unless we have to, just the opposite: trivial problems preclude science. However, the more complex the phenomenon, the more clear it becomes that reconstructing, cultivating, regulating and/or meliorating it becomes feasible only if such actions are based on profound understanding. This justifies the attractiveness of science with its own specialized procedures and research operations as a route to understanding the phenomenon. After all, science is a full- time human activity geared at explanation, i.e. making sense of the world. Understanding and explanation are two sides of the same coin provided they refer to the same phenomenon in its technical meaning, i.e. in the sense of an occurrence/event in space and time (Hempel and Oppenheim, 1988). Unlike practical activities, science is highly specialized: it is a structured, organized, and self- controlled area of human cognition with clear values such as precision, systematicity, and replicability, to name but a few. Its principal aim is finding out, satisfying our curiosity, our drive for understanding. A sufficient justification of scientific research is that it can advance our knowledge and understanding of the world without necessarily incurring utilitarian benefits. However, empirical knowledge and understanding of the world can be very useful. A trademark of knowledge is that we can do something with it. Ideally, a fully- fledged academic discipline would investigate the natural phenomenon of language learning scientifically, but, at the same time, comprehensively and specifically enough to provide a body of knowledge relevant to the practical concerns. In this way it could have a real impact on the shape of the cultured phenomenon, i.e. foreign language learning while being taught in 23

12 a deliberately constructed environment. In reality, however, the matter is more complicated. First of all, the field has been witnessing a dynamic, if not overwhelming, growth of awareness regarding the immense complexity of language learning. Trivial it is not. Furthermore, the dynamic development of civilization necessitates profound changes in foreign language education, so the field of foreign language learning and teaching is constantly challenged, i.e. in need of innovation based on adequate foundations. Fortunately, the awareness of its own identity and priorities has been growing steadily. Until now, the field has looked up to various sources of insight and inspiration to strengthen its foundations, within and outside science, and various strategies have been suggested to link the scientific basis in linguistics and psychology with practical teaching. At the same time, for more than three decades, Second Language Acquisition Research has developed into a fascinating and dynamic field, but it is not quite clear whether, on top of their explanatory pursuits and descriptive goals, Second Language Acquisition researchers should feel responsible for satisfying the demands for applicable knowledge, e.g. discussion by Long (2004, also see section 1.2.4). Certainly, because Second Language Acquisition Research deals with non- primary language learning occurring naturally, in the target language speech community, where it is available for interaction, investigation and explanation, as well as additionally in the educational context, it is not constrained by the same requirement of specificity of its representations as the field of foreign language didactics. This is to say that SLA models may, but do not have to be convertible into principles of constructing conditions for non- primary language learning in the formal/educational context. To sum up, it is helpful to keep in mind the interaction as well as the specificity of the natural, the practical, and the academic domains to appreciate their complementary rather than mutually exclusive roles and judge them accordingly in the world of foreign language learning and teaching. Roles are usually defined as a set of expectations addressed to an incumbent of a certain position with a special function in the whole system. Each of the three domains, identified in terms of their values, goals, agenda and quality criteria, has a distinct role: the domain of the natural phenomena is expected to inform the academic discipline investigating them and provide the source of evidence. This can be accomplished only if and when foreign language learning and teaching as an academic discipline (a science) defines itself as empirical and focuses on these natural phenomena as its subject matter, i.e. as the point of reference and the source of information for all its sub- tasks, such as model construction, selection of relevant concepts, hypothesis testing, development of explanatory systems, i.e. theories, various methods of empirical research, and above all, as a source of data for empirical studies 24

13 of various types. The natural phenomenon is also an indispensable point of reference for the meta- level of the field which evaluates the discipline s philosophy and policy, i.e. research goals, relationships with the neighbouring disciplines, as well as the compatibility of its model representations with the empirical and theoretical levels of research in these neighbouring areas. It is no longer justified, and it would even be counterproductive, to reduce the status of foreign language teaching merely to practical activity, because it can just as well, and at the same time, be represented as an integral part of a fullyfledged academic discipline, vide, medicine as science and practice, or political science and the practice of politics. There is no conflict of interest between the two roles: relevant scientific knowledge can help to rationalize foreign language teaching, while the field s goal of providing applications can materialize thanks to the empirical constraints on its own subject matter to make this representation specific enough, i.e. involving human subjects operating in time and space. Regrettably, with all the mysteries of language use and learning, the field of foreign language teaching has for long been trivialized and pushed to the academic margin, patronized as the weakest link of language research, or treated as a borderline territory too tricky to be merely practical and too entangled in educational issues to be fertile theory construction rather than defined by language use and more than complex enough to merit a normal science program. All in all, in order to be rationalized, practical activities must be informed and justified by our understanding of the natural phenomena with which we cognitively interact. The most promising provider of such an understanding is an academic discipline which investigates these phenomena within its framework, with field- specific terminology and research agenda. This is not at all for such an obvious or acceptable conviction (e.g. Whong 2011).To be useful to the practical domain, the academic field does not have to be special in the sense of not quite scientific, but, to use an optical analogy, it must target the relevant phenomena and bring them into focus. In other words, we must define language learning as events in space and time in the empirical domain in contrast to other potential foci of attention, such as descriptions of language as a system of forms, abstracted from the human being in whom language lives as well as from space and time. Second, to bring them into focus, we must ensure that our cognitive tools for research, i.e. terminology, models, hypotheses, etc. are specific enough to capture these events as human operations in the context of sociocultural interaction. To make our expectations toward each of the three domains more realistic, we should not treat specialized work in one domain as entirely responsible for the success of the remaining ones, or impose additional tasks on the representatives of a given domain which are not intrinsic to their original role. For example, 25

14 expecting foreign language teachers to do the work of researchers as a strategy of bridging the gap between too abstract theories and too arbitrary teaching practices would benefit neither the effectiveness of their teaching nor the research progress in the academic discipline of foreign language teaching and learning. This is not say, however, that teachers need not be highly educated professionals who follow theoretical and empirical advances in their own as well as related disciplines, or that they should be confined in their professional lives to assuming only one role. Most specialists in the field of foreign language didactics are quite capable of juggling several professional roles quite successfully. The questions In the course of this book the following key questions will guide the whole presentation: a) To what extent have the above three tightly related areas been articulated so far? b) What are the consequences of seeing them as communicating vessels for the shape of the discipline of foreign language learning and teaching, especially its subject matter? c) What points of orientation does this discipline have for identifying its subject matter within its own framework? d) Can these guidelines be helpful in developing a conception of the phenomenon of language use as specific (psycholinguistic) processes of foreign language use? e) Can this understanding be used for the purpose of deriving symmetrical guidelines for foreign language teaching? f) Can these guidelines be systematized in the context of this conception? g) Is this systematization meaningful from the point of view of practical foreign language teaching? This investigation opens with a retrospective account of various strategies with which the complex issues of foreign language teaching have been addressed in the past. They set the stage for the current scene and justify dealing with questions of foreign language learning and teaching within the framework of an academic discipline called Foreign Language Learning and Teaching, Foreign Language Didactics or Glottodidactics. There are two main advantages of constituting such a discipline: a) it can deliberately target its subject matter in the empirical reality by incorporating its own constraints on the subject matter representation, and b) with this subject- matter representation as a source of identity, it can interact with the neighbouring disciplines more assertively. 26

15 Non- primary language learning is regarded as a function of language use, i.e. as human processes, operations and choices which take place in our cognitive system of Human Information Processing, specialized for verbal communication, i.e. comprehension and production in speech and writing. The main cognitive processes activated for language use are identified as verbal communication and reasoning about it. Both are involved in gathering the information resources and operations required in language use, especially in reconstructing the code of the target language. Each part offers an outline of implications for foreign language teaching, which are finally systematized as junctures and options for various teaching strategies derived from the operation of the subsystems, processes and information structures in the HIP mechanism, as well as the structure of verbal communication and its specific instantiations as comprehension and production in speech and writing. In this context, foreign language teaching is understood as strategic behaviour. The whole investigation develops a framework of foreign language teaching which maps a rather specific (bottom- up) representation of non- primary language use as situated in human subjects (cf. Grucza 1983, 2007), especially their cognitive equipment to interact/communicate with themselves and other human beings in their sociocultural environment. There is one clear point of convergence with Ushioda s perspective (2007), who stresses the need to: focus on real persons, rather than on learners as theoretical abstractions; a focus on the agency of the individual person as a thinking, feeling human being, with an identity, a personality, a unique history and background, a person with goals, motives and intentions; a focus on the interaction between this self- reflective agent and the fluid and complex system of social relations, activities, experiences and multiple micro- and macro- contexts in which the person is embedded, moves and is inherently part of. (quoted in Ellis 2010: 39). However, apart from the important similarity, there will have to be numerous differences in further assumptions, steps and solutions. Last, but not least, applications developed in my framework are regarded as logical inferences drawn from the relationships among relevant factors and entities in the subject matter, especially the nature of constructive human operations in verbal communication and reasoning. They are not information packages discarded by other fields. 27

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