Traditional Theories of L2 Acquisition

  • Suzanne Flynn
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 5)


As briefly outlined in Chapter 1, the field of L2 acquisition has traditionally been dominated by two major theories: Contrastive Analysis (CA) (Fries, 1945, 1957; Lado, 1957) and Creative Construction (CC) (Dulay & Burt, 1972, 1974a, 1974b). Each of these theories provides a distinct perspective on the L2 learning process, CA focusing on the role of the L1 experience while CC emphasizes the role of processes independent of the L1. Neither of these theories as we now know them provides a full account of this learning task. In this chapter I reveal in detail how each fails as a complete theory of the L2 acquisition process. Identification of these inadequacies is helpful in formulating ideas about the type of theory necessary to explain adult L2 learning. Within that context, a parameter-setting model of UG can be shown to have certain critical advantages that allow us to use it as the basis of a principled account of adult L2 learning.1


Relative Clause Traditional Theory Contrastive Analysis Explanatory Theory Acquisi Tion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Flynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations