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Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts

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Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts

An overview of current themes and research on second language learning in the early school years

Format: Paperback
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Shortlisted for the AAAL Book Award 2016
Shortlisted for the BAAL Book Prize 2015

A detailed exploration of second language learning in the early school years, providing a broad overview of research findings across a range of different contexts.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-434885-0

Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts provides a detailed exploration of second language learning in the early years, examining past and present research evidence on bilingualism, second language, and foreign language learning in childhood, and arguing that young children can learn multiple languages without adverse effect on their overall language development in any of their languages.

Key features

  • Examines past and present research evidence on bilingualism, second language, and foreign language learning in childhood
  • Highlights the similarities and differences in child L2 learning across different contexts
  • Focuses on learning contexts that intersect with educational provision in the early school years
  • Explores current trends towards a younger starting age for foreign language learning
  • Provides a broad overview of research findings across a range of different contexts

Read more...

At a time when children around the world are increasingly required to learn a second language in the primary classroom, Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts provides a much-needed overview of current themes and research on child second language learning. This book provides a detailed exploration of L2 language learning in the early years, examining past and present research evidence on bilingualism, second language, and foreign language learning in childhood, and providing a broad overview of research findings across a range of different contexts. The discussion focuses on learning contexts that intersect with educational provision in the early school years and a comparison of L2 outcomes across those contexts.

Murphy discusses current trends towards a younger starting age for foreign language learning. She evaluates to what extent 'younger is better' in L2 learning in the early school years, and what other variables may contribute to successful child L2 outcomes. Reviewing the research, Second Language Learning in the Early School Years: Trends and Contexts argues that young children can learn multiple languages without adverse effect on their overall language development in any of their languages.

This book is part of the Oxford Applied Linguistics Series, a series of titles providing thorough yet accessible coverage of controversial topics related to language use. The goal of the series is to influence the quality of language education through publishing and disseminating relevant scholarship and research.

Additional material is available on the website: www.oup.com/elt/teacher/sllearly

Victoria A. Murphy is Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and leads the Research in English as an Additional Language research team.

Reviews

  • 'Murphy provides a systematic analysis of different second language learning contexts involving younger learners, closely examining the strengths and weaknesses of these contexts. She also provides useful practical and conceptual guidance for a better understanding of these contexts, with the conviction that bilingualism is an asset. Consequently, from whatever the setting and position the reader is in, this is definitively a book to read and to keep close-by for an informative and consistent "bird's-eye view" of young second language learners.'
    - International Journal of Applied Linguistics
  • 'It is refreshing to read a book about young children learning languages that lives fully up to its title... In this book, although English receives a sizeable amount of attention, it is not the only language treated and we are taken into an array of different social and political circumstances in which learning a language is central to a child's wellbeing...The reports of research in this book set up comparisons and contrasts that offer valuable new insights and areas for reflection...
  • The book's major contribution is that it attempts to gather together research and to make the point that when we are dealing with school-based learning, there is much in the messiness of the contexts of real life to obscure or enrich what the Age Factor brings to the debate and much that we can do through the use of resources or the application of intelligence and good will to make the best of the situation. I wish I could be sure that policy makers as well as teachers and research students would read the book and take heed.'
    - Modern English Teacher