Psycholinguistic, Cognitive, and Usage-Based Approaches to Study Abroad Research

Authored by: Timothy McCormick

The Routledge Handbook of Study Abroad Research and Practice

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138192393
eBook ISBN: 9781315639970
Adobe ISBN:


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Although it is a commonplace belief that a sojourn abroad is the most efficient or even the only way to truly acquire a second language, years of research have not been so unequivocal (cf. Collentine, 2004; DeKeyser, 1991; Freed, Segalowitz, & Dewey, 2004; Sanz, 2014). In fact, this discordance between the general public’s expectation and the researcher’s vacillation is so prominent that to highlight it has become a leitmotif of introductions to publications on language acquisition during study abroad (SA; e.g., Grey, Cox, Serafini, & Sanz, 2015; Tokowicz, Michael, & Kroll, 2004). Certainly, the difficult nature of research on SA contributes to the inconclusive results (DeKeyser, 2014; Llanes, 2012; Sanz, 2014). To begin, there are simply far fewer students abroad than in the at-home (AH) context, and while individual differences play an important role in both contexts, SA programs also differ in length, in living arrangements, in type of matriculation, and in nature of classes, among many other variables. Of course, the study abroad experience (SAE) contains many more opportunities for exposure to and interaction with the target language, adding an additional layer of complexity to the research agenda.

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