Self-organization and the Process of Dynamic Learner Language Development

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Shan An


Adopting Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is a testament to the revolutionary and evolutionary advancement in theory and empirical practice in the field. CDST is revolutionary for the fact that it warrants systems thinking of SLA phenomena that breaks the chain of dichotomous conceptualization on vital issues such as the mechanism of language acquisition and learning and the effectiveness of positive and negative evidence. The emergence of CDST, on the other hand, is an evolutionary product nurtured by the painstaking collaborations of SLA scholars for over two decades of scientific inquiry (see, e.g., Han, 2019; Hiver & Al-Hoorie, 2019; Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008; Ortega & Han, 2017). To capitalize on CDST as a valid approach to scholarly work, it is necessary to grapple with its fundamental constructs. This forum piece accentuates a critical notion of CDST: self-organization. By first referring to the theoretical aspects of self-organization, this forum piece seeks to demonstrate the relevance of this notion in SLA. This piece will then review three sample studies homing in on learner language development with a CDST lens and a specific focus on self-organization.

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